UPDATE: I think this view sums up the Koala “Sam” incident perfectly:
She is referring to sceptics (journos?) like Prue Vincent who clarified in The Smage that the video was “actually taken in the week leading up to the deadliest bushfires in Australian history, during preventative backburning operations”.
No-one’s claiming Sam wasn’t in a bushfire-affected area, just that it wasn’t one associated with Black Saturday, which is the conclusion an onlooker would draw from most of the reporting on the Koala quench.
McNaught herself wrote about Sam on 11 February: “Sam became the most famous koala in the world when firefighter David Tree stopped to give him a drink amid the devastation of the Victoria fires.”
In fact, the photo was taken on 1 February, six days before the Victoria-wide fires broke out (the fires most people would associate with the term “Victoria fires”). It doesn’t make the Koala any less cute or any less thirsty. And who’s to say that symbolism can’t sometimes transcend accuracy when it serves a higher cause, like highlighting the plight of animals caught in bushfires.
But it is a reminder that even in times of tragedy we should continue to question the story behind the story. [Crikey]
ORIGINAL: I like many people found the picture of a firefighter giving water to a koala in the middle of a bushfire to be just incredible; well it turns out it was too incredible:
It’s been revealed that video footage of a Victorian firefighter giving water to an injured and dehydrated koala was not quite what it seemed.
“Koala Man” Dave Tree made news across the globe with footage of a koala drinking from a bottle. The footage, shot on a mobile phone became a sensation on the website YouTube.com.
However the appealing scene was actually taken in the week leading up to the fires, during preventative backburning operations.
Dave says there was no intention to deceive. He took the video to show his daughter.
The koala “Sam” has come to symbolis the plight of native animals left homeless after the massive fires burnt thousands of hectares of bush. [TV NZ]
Here is the original YouTube of the encounter with the koala:
I still find it to be just incredible footage even if it happened a few days before the big bushfires.