FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims To Show A Baby Koala Rescued From The Australian Wildfires By A Golden Retriever

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 12,000 times purportedly shows a koala rescued from the Australian wildfires by a dog.

“The look in their eyes tells the story,” reads part of the caption.

Verdict: False

The photo of the baby koala perched on the back of a golden retriever was taken in September 2018. Its rescue was not related to the recent wildfires.

Fact Check:

Wildfires have swept across Australia since September, killing 26 people and destroying 2,000 homes (at the time of publication), according to The Associated Press. The World Wildlife Fund in Australia estimates that as many as 1.25 billion animals have been killed directly or indirectly by the fires, according to USA Today.

A viral post alleges that the image shows a baby koala rescued from the Australian wildfires by a golden retriever. It has been shared more than 12,000 times. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show A Jaguar Being Rescued From The Amazon Wildfires?)

“A family in Australia opened their door to this sight in Australia,” reads the beginning of the post. “The family dog showed up with a newborn koala on its back, saved in the fires.”

Through a reverse image search, the Daily Caller discovered that Kerry McKinnon, a resident of Strathdownie, Australia, took the picture in September 2018, roughly a year before the current wildfires started. The koala’s rescue, McKinnon told The Associated Press, was not related to the wildfires.

“I think the baby koala fell out of his mum’s pouch and didn’t know what to do,” McKinnon told News.com.au. “He would have just wandered over to our back porch and seen the dogs in their beds, then decided to snuggle in Asha’s fur because it’s nice and warm.”

The temperature in Strathdownie fell to around 41 degrees Fahrenheit the morning that McKinnon found the koala cuddling her dog, Asha, for warmth, according to CBS News. McKinnon told News.com.au that the koala “never would have made it through the night” if it hadn’t found her dog.

She gave the koala to a special caretaker until it could be released back into the wild, according to Insider.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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