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Firefighter koala CPR: Aussie firefighters go mouth-to-koala in dramatic rescue

Firefighters in Australia teamed up with wildlife officials to rescue an unresponsive koala using CPR. The koala, struck by a car and injured, climbed a nearby tree. After dropping the koala from its perch, a wildlife rescuer gave the little critter oxygen, chest compressions and when that didn’t work – bent over and resuscitated the furball with old fashioned mouth to marsupial.

Writes the Guardian: “A wildlife rescuer has saved the life of a koala by giving it CPR after a dramatic rescue in which the animal was flung from a tall tree to its waiting rescuers. The koala was hit by a vehicle while crossing a road in Langwarrin, in Melbourne’s southeast, on Thursday night. It then scurried up a tree and passed out. A motorist called Wildlife Victoria, which enlisted the help of the Country Fire Authority to get the koala down from the tree.”

The dramatic rescue, caught on video, shows Langwarrin firefighters and Wildlife Victoria officials flinging the marsupial down into a blanket. On the ground and unresponsive, wildlife officer Michelle Thomas took over.

“It was the first time I’d done CPR on a koala,” a smiling Thomas said. “Interesting day.”

The koala is now recovering at a vet and under the care of Thomas, who named the koala “Sean” after the local fire brigade captain.

“One of the members had performed CPR on a dog previously,” Langwarrin fire Capt. Sean Curtin said. “Wildlife Victoria actually performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the koala and one of the other members was pumping the koala's chest to get some movement in the heart and also get some air into the lungs at the same time. We put it on oxygen therapy to assist in getting some oxygen into the blood flow of the koala.”

Amy Amato, spokeswoman for Wildlife Victoria, said they receive lots of calls about injured koalas.

“This isn’t something we’d do all of the time but it shows the dedication of volunteers to saving wildlife,” amato said. “Koalas often flee up trees after being hit by cars or bitten by dogs. We do get a lot of calls about koalas, unfortunately… Fingers crossed, with the right care he’ll be OK.”

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