The 16th Regiment Emergency Support Force used their rest periods to feed koalas, and build structures for the creatures, at the Cleland Wildlife Park.

By Kelli Bender / People.com
January 29, 2020
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A koala is rehabilitated at Taronga Zoo in Sydney after a bushfire ravaged its habitat in the Blue Mountain.
Fairfax Media / Getty Images

Koalas, already declared “functionally extinct” in 2018, have suffered great losses from the wildfires burning through Australia, but they are also gaining countless caretakers.

Animal rescues have stepped up (and popped up) across Australia to help koalas and the other animals injured in the wildfires, knitters around the world have donated their creations to protect the paws of creatures burned in the blazes, and now, Australian Army soldiers are using their days off from helping the country to care for koalas in need.

"#OurPeople from 16th Regiment Emergency Support Force have used their rest periods to lend a helping hand at the Cleland Wildlife Park, supporting our furry friends during feeding time and by building climbing mounts inside the park,” the Australian Army wrote in a Facebook post, captioning a series of photos that show soldiers cradling injured koalas and carefully feeding the animals.

According to the post, this use of free time, along with being a big help to the koalas, is also a sweet relief to the 16th Regiment Emergency Support Force as well.

The time spent at Cleland Wildlife Park was “a great morale boost for our hard working team in the Adelaide Hills,” the Australian Army wrote.

Experts predict that over 1 billion animals, including thousands of koalas, have died in Australia’s recent wildfires, potentially bringing some species to the brink of extinction.

To learn more about how you can help the people and animals of Australia, click here.