A hunter from a town cut off by raging Australian bushfires is putting his own life on the line to save koalas and other affected wildlife.
Patrick Boyle shared a photo to Instagram on Friday of himself and a koala that he pulled from the charred bushland of East Gippsland.
Like many, his solo mission was borne from a lack of resources and manpower in the communities hit hardest by raging bushfires.
“I instantly found a burned koala that I took straight back to the wildlife shelter. It was actually remarkable how quickly I found koalas,” he told Stuff.co.nz.
“I’ve found eight or nine so far that have been rescued. I found over 10 that were dead and about another five that are alive and healthy for the time being.”
The 22-year-old hunter was the first to admit on breakfast TV that his hobby makes him an unlikely hero.
“I’m a hunter – I’m one of the last people that others would expect to help these animals,” he told Today, adding: “Farmers, hunters and workers are the ones out there actually taking action right now.”
Boyle told the Today hosts that his decision to stay behind wasn’t a difficult one at all.
“I feel, like most people, that the bushfire threat has come and gone. the front has been and past and has burnt a lot of the town,” he said. “I feel safe here now.”
The Mallacoota local went on to praise his community and their clean-up efforts.
“Everyone is just doing what they can for each other,” he said. “Good spirits in the air even though so much has been lost.”
The 22-year-old is urging people to donate to the Mallacoota Wildlife Shelter – which is actually just someone’s house – to help the injured wildlife recover from the catastrophic fires which swept through East Gippsland.
“The place is rammed with koalas and other wildlife all through their lounge and back garden,” he told Stuff.co.nz.
“They have very little resources, so any help that people can give is great.”