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Aug 10, 2009

Sam (koala) from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sam (died 6 August 2009) was a female koala from the forests of Mirboo North, Victoria, Australia, who became known when a video of her being rescued from a bushfire by a firefighter was distributed on the Internet and through the media.
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A mobile phone video of the event, which attracted over 900,000 hits on YouTube, shows firefighter David Tree approaching Sam, who initially attempts to flee. She then stops—Tree speculates that the koala had been thinking "I can't run, I'm weak and sore, put me out of my misery" as he calls for water, and she is then shown drinking from a bottle he is holding for her. She is also seen allowing herself to be patted, and holding her paw on his hand. Sam became a symbol of hope.
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It was initially thought that Sam had been rescued by Tree following the February 2009 Victorian bushfires; however, the event actually occurred in the week before the worst of the fires, during backburning operations initiated by firefighters. Tree and his crew came across Sam when they were blacking out after the fires had gone through. The video was recorded by Tree and other firefighters; it had been intended for Tree's daughter.
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Sam was subsequently taken to the Mountain Ash Wildlife Centre in Rawson, where she was found to be suffering from second-degree burns to her paws and given painkillers. Caretakers at the shelter expected that it would take her about eight months to recover. Based on the condition of her teeth, the shelter staff believed her to be between two and four years old. She was placed with a male koala named Bob, who had been rescued from another of the bushfire areas, two days earlier, and who was suffering from third-degree burns.
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Sam's story was featured in media outlets worldwide, including the The New York Times and CNN. Gossip site TMZ.com mocked the rescue, calling Sam "pampered"; this drew significant reader backlash and external attention. TMZ later apologized to Sam, and to Australia as a whole.
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An image of Sam with David Tree was used as cover art on the fundraising CD Bushfire Aid, to which 35 national and international artists donated tracks. All proceeds were donated to the Salvation Army Bushfire Appeal. A total of AU$300,000 has also been raised for the Country Fire Authority and other charities through selling photographs of Sam's rescue.
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Sam was euthanised on 6 August 2009. The decision was made after exploratory surgery on her bladder and uterus to evaluate the possible removal of cysts caused by urogenital chlamydiosis. As her condition was inoperable, the veterinarian stated the decision was made to euthanise to prevent her suffering.

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Posted: Aug 10, 2009 5:52am

 

 
 
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Jenny Dooley
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