Okanagan rescue team comes back home from Australian mission

Okanagan rescue team comes back home from Australian mission

Brad Pattison’s team spent 33 days rescuing wildlife

Brad Pattison said there were many moments where the highs and the lows melded together during his team’s time in Australia.

“There are some moments where your heart just sinks and it goes really low,” he said.

“We were doing a black walk in 39 C degree weather. Ash was blowing everywhere and we came across a mother (kangaroo) that had died and we could see she was trying to hide behind tree roots with her baby. It completely shattered everyone. But within two minutes, I saw some movement and it was a small kangaroo that was still alive.”

The Kelowna-based team spent a little over a month in the heart of Australia’s bushfires, rescuing whatever wildlife they could. They came back to Canada early last week.

That included koalas, kangaroos, wombats and wallabies. But the work isn’t quite finished yet. Pattison said they’re still collecting donations to help with reforestation efforts.

He said the team might go back to Australia so they can help and oversee tree replanting as well as setting up temporary habitats for the animals, but right now, the main focus is to raise more funds to help the wildlife get back up.

Pattison said for him personally, the whole rescue mission could be summed up in one koala named Bodhi.

He said the koala was so dehydrated and malnourished that he didn’t even have enough strength to start eating.

But with enough care on his side, the koala fought on.

“Two days ago, he’s finally come out of his little crate. He saw his makeshift tree, and climbed right up it and ate,”

“That never would have happened if not for people’s donations. They saved that koala… if you could be there, you would be so proud of where your dollars went.”

READ MORE: Kelowna animal rescue team headed to fire-ravaged Australia to help wildlife

READ MORE: Okanagan team leads animal rescue efforts in Australia


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
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Australia fires