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NATURE: Australian Bushfire Rescue

Stream now or tune in Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020 at 3 p.m. on KPBS TV

Member of the Australian Defence comforts a koala. Meet the people rescuing a...

Credit: Courtesy of Anja Taylor, © WildBear Entertainment

Above: Member of the Australian Defence comforts a koala. Meet the people rescuing and caring for the animal survivors of Australia's devastating bushfires. (undated photo)

Meet the people rescuing and caring for the animal survivors of Australia's devastating bushfires

An estimated 1-3 billion animals died in the horrific Australian bushfires last year. Through the help of tireless volunteers working to rescue the remains of their once-flourishing environment, stories of animal and human resilience have emerged.

Rising from the ashes, animal survivors begin their challenging journey back to a wild existence in NATURE "Australian Bushfire Rescue."

Preview of Australian Bushfire Rescue

Meet the people rescuing and caring for the animal survivors of Australia’s devastating bushfires. Iconic species like koalas, kangaroos and wombats face a series of hurdles to recover from their trauma. Airing: 10/28/20

A series of digital shorts, produced by NATURE, captured the immediate aftermath of the fires and relief efforts, including the rescue of an orphan wombat, the treatment of one of Australia’s deadliest snakes and the story of a selfless citizen who turned her home into an animal sanctuary.

Inspired by those journeys, the 60-minute documentary will also follow iconic species like koalas, kangaroos and endangered species of parrots as they face a series of hurdles to recover from their trauma and go back into the wild.

Their stories of rescue, rehabilitation and eventual release sit alongside the remarkable tales of human compassion and dedication from their rescuers and caretakers.

Meet Bear, the Koala Detection Dog

A month after wildfires devastated a wildlife sanctuary, an expert was brought in to find injured koalas: a koala detection dog named Bear. Detection dogs can locate koalas up to 20 times faster than human searchers. Airing: 10/28/20

“With this documentary, we wanted to show the humanity that reveals itself through catastrophe.” said Fred Kaufman, executive producer for NATURE. “The people who dedicate themselves to saving and rehabilitating these injured and traumatized animals are incredibly inspiring. It demonstrates how important it is to never lose hope, even in the worst disasters.”

Two Orphan Joeys Welcomed Into New Home

The filmmakers stumbled upon a tragic sight: two injured mother kangaroos that have carried their joeys in their pouches, protecting them from the flames. While their mothers will not survive their wounds from the fires, two joeys are welcomed into a new home. Airing: 10/28/20

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The DVD is available to purchase at

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NATURE is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and PBS. Fred Kaufman is Executive Producer, Bill Murphy is series producer and Janet Hess. "Australian Bushfire Rescue" is a production of WildBear Entertainment and THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET, ZDF/ARTE and ZDFE. The documentary is narrated by Anja Taylor and is directed by Max Bourke. Dr. Holly Trueman is producer. Bettina Dalton, who produced NATURE "Cracking the Koala Code" (2012), is executive producer for WildBear Entertainment.


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