TheRecord: ‘Wild experience’ for Kitchener woman rescuing animals in Australia

Feb 14, 2020 by Johanna Weidner Waterloo Region Record

Heidi Bechtold spent three weeks in Australia helping wildlife after the devastating fires. – courtesy Heidi Bechtold

KITCHENER — The koala slid down the hill after dropping out of the tree, stopping right in front of Heidi Bechtold’s feet.

The Kitchener woman caught and held the ailing animal until he could be safely stowed in a bag and taken for veterinary care.

“It was a really cool experience,” Bechtold said. “They actually named this koala after me.”

Bechtold arrived home on Monday after three weeks in Australia with a Kelowna, B.C.-based animal rescue team pitching in with wildlife rescue efforts in the wake of the devastating fires.

“It was a wild experience,” Bechtold said.

Along with rescuing animals hurt and displaced by the wildfires, the team set up food and water stations to provide sustenance to animals in areas where their habitat was decimated.

“It’s about helping the animals after the fires,” Bechtold said. “You have animals coming back and waiting for your food.”

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