Nature: Australian Bushfire Rescue

Air date: 10/28/2020

Nature Reports on Australian Bushfire Animal Rescue and Recovery Efforts Wednesday, October 28 at 8 p.m. on PBS

An estimated one 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, premiering nationwide Wednesday, October 28 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app.

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.

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.”

Now in its 39th season on PBS, Nature brings the wonders of natural history to millions of American viewers. The series has won more than 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 19 Emmys and three Peabody Awards. The series is available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video app, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members can view episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details).

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 is Series Editor. 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.

Support for Nature is made possible in part by The Arnhold Family in memory of Henry and Clarisse Arnhold, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, The Fairweather Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Kathy Chiao and Ken Hao, the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Charles Rosenblum, Sandra Atlas Bass, the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, Doris R. and Robert J. Thomas, The Sun Hill Family Foundation in memory of Susan and Edwin Malloy, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by public television viewers. 

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Adrina Selles feeds a recovering joey in her lap. Credit: Anja Taylor, © WildBear Entertainment

A koala sits on the lower branch of a burnt-out tree. This is how they were often found in the aftermath of the fires. Credit: © Karran Family

A devastated forest devoid of plants and wildlife after a fire storm. Kinglake National Park in Victoria, Australia. Credit: Jason Edwards, © Getty Images

Koala climbing on eucalyptus with fire on the background. Credit: © Getty Images

Australia's kangaroos saved from the fire in the Australian forests. Credit: Marcio Waismann, © Getty Images

A baby bat with pacifier is about to get a “bat wrap” for the evening. Credit: Anja Taylor, © WildBear Entertainment

Koala in treatment. Credit: Anja Taylor, © WildBear Entertainment

Kangaroo escaping from the Australian bushfire devastation. Credit: © Izanbar

Member of the Australian Defence comforts a koala. Credit: Anja Taylor, © WildBear Entertainment

Anja Taylor, narrator and reporter for Nature: Australian Bushfire Rescue.

An injured joey wrapped in a blanket. Credit: Anja Taylor, © WildBear Entertainment

Bear, the koala detection dog. Credit: © IFAW