The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met Grace the Koala, whilst on a video call last week to learn about the impact caused by the Australian wildfires. They spoke to the residents and workers from Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Prince William and Kate were set to visit the country this year, but the tour was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Grace the Koala was introduced by Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park owner Dana Mitchell. Dana provided care to the animals, which were harmed during the fires and told the Royals how the wildlife, including the Koala population, has been affected. Dana also informed the royal couple about the work that is being carried out to reintroduce animals back into their natural habitats and get the rescued animals back into the wild.
Grace the ‘sweet’ Koala, as described by Catherine, came close to the camera for the couple to see. Talking about Grace, Dana commented: “She came in about a month ago now. She’s gaining weight pretty well and loves her bottle and pretty much sleeps as the time.”
During the call, The Duke of Cambridge applauded the Australian people saying: “It’s fantastic to hear about the community spirit in Australia as always, which is what Catherine and I see when we come down there.”
“Aussies are very good at looking out for each other and it’s fantastic to see you’re all pulling together.”
The Duke and Duchess heard from Captain Mike Swayne, who spent five weeks fighting the fires as a volunteer. Captain Swayne summarised the difficulties faced by first responders on the frontline, including the weather conditions and the speed at which the fires spread.
The future King and Catherine also heard about the work of a unique taskforce set up by the Australian Defence Force as part of the national response. This taskforce is set to provide support to emergency services and the affected communities in South Australia.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reported the Australian wildfires have been one of the ‘worst wildlife disasters in modern history’. The wildfires burned for weeks and consumed half of Kangaroo Island. The wildfires harmed three billion animals.