Fires have raged across Australia since September 2019, affecting thousands of people, and more than a billion wildlife, including iconic species such as kangaroos and koalas.
The impacts have been devastating but footage of a shared drink between a family dog and a thirsty koala provided some relief from the heartbreaking images of the effects of the bushfires.
In video footage filmed by Danielle Stone, the family dog named Rusty was seen sharing water with a thirsty koala they named Quasi.
The animals were rubbing their noses together, and likely commiserating as they continue to experience crisis-level drought and immense bushfires in Australia.
The koala acquired a name after being a longtime visitor of the Stones. The koala often visits the family’s backyard in Ashton, Adelaide Hills, South Australia for water and shelter on hot days.
Quasi will usually head on to the water bowl for a drink, and seek refuge in one of the trees in the backyard. The family often breaks off leaves from nearby eucalyptus trees for Quasi to eat when they see the koala perched on their veranda.
The family relates that Rusty is always excited when Rusty comes to visit. In the footage, as Quasi goes in for a drink, Rusty comes in, and drinks water as well.
They affectionately nuzzle noses and greet each other warmly. It’s an adorable moment, and much appreciated given the misery that thousands of koalas and other species continue to endure because of the wildfires.
Stone said, “Rusty doesn’t mind sharing the water bowl at all. I think humans could learn a thing or two from this pair.”
Andrew Frost, a family friend, uploaded the footage on Facebook, which has since been viewed more than 6 million times, and racked more than 150,000 shares.
Frost said, “These two have known each other for several years. It’s special when you see something like this which is natural and unstaged.”’
Experts estimate that more than a billion animals have perished in the ongoing wildfires, and the government is concerned that koalas in particular could be endangered in some areas.
As much as 30% of koala habitats have been destroyed. The government has pledged a $50 million emergency fund to address the tragic loss of wildlife and their habitats, with a special focus on koalas.
The amount comes from the $2 billion bushfire relief fund established by the government. Half of the emergency wildlife and habitat recovery fund will be distributed to frontline responder groups including wildlife carers, hospitals, and zoos.
The other half will help fund a government advisory panel of experts from different disciplines and sectors who will assess the impact of the fires on species and habitats and plan for long term habitat restoration.
The bond between Rusty and Quasi has served to uplift spirits weary from the overwhelming impacts of the ongoing wildfires, and their long-term implications on the environment, particularly on the survival of country’s most recognized species.
As Frost posted, “Yes the country is on fire, climate change is real and many politicians are in denial but nice to post something smiley.”
See the video below to catch the sweet moment between Rusty and Quasi.