Kelowna 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
Follow me on Twitter

Australia fires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cougar caught on camera in Lake Country

A Lake Country resident caught a cougar prowling near their home

Dry March causes modest increases to Okanagan snowpack

The Okanagan region increased from 115 per cent of normal snowpack to 116 per cent

Rockets’ Pavel Novak cracks central scouting list for upcoming NHL draft

Novak is ranked No. 85 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters

YMCA Okanagan offers care for children of essential service workers

Priority will be given to children aged 5 to 12 years old

Kelowna Rotary Club donates $50,000 for youth treatment program

The donation will support The Bridge’s Okanagan youth Recovery House project

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

This is a running list of events cancelled across the Okanagan

Smiles, honks and waves as teachers stage parade for their students

Classrooms are closed, but kids and teachers manage to connect

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

Summerland winery sold for $5.2 million

Property overlooking Okanagan Lake was on the market 160 days

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

COVID-19: B.C. students describe life during pandemic

Most teens wonder what the future will be like after COVID-19

COLUMN: Local journalism more important than ever before

Response to recent farm worker situation was concerning

Most Read