A photo of a dead kangaroo joey taken by Brad Fleet has become one of the defining international images of the Australian bushfire crisis. WARNING: GRAPHIC.
A photo of a dead kangaroo joey taken by Brad Fleet has become one of the defining international images of the Australian bushfire crisis. WARNING: GRAPHIC.

Tragic kangaroo becomes defining image of bushfire disaster

The distressing image of a dead kangaroo trapped in a wire fence in SA has become the international symbol of Australia's bushfire crisis.

The picture, by The Advertiser photographer Brad Fleet, has been picked up by media from around the world after it went viral online with many, including a Hollywood actor, sharing the photo to raise money for bushfire funds.

Taken in the aftermath of South Australia's Cudlee Creek fire last week, it shows the remains of a joey trapped in a wire fence after its desperate attempt to escape the blaze failed.

A joey kangaroo caught in a fence on the Fox Creek Rd property of Terry Reardon and Joan Gibbs at Cudlee Creek. This photo by Advertiser photographer Brad Fleet went viral, receiving international attention.
A joey kangaroo caught in a fence on the Fox Creek Rd property of Terry Reardon and Joan Gibbs at Cudlee Creek. This photo by Advertiser photographer Brad Fleet went viral, receiving international attention.

Fleet said he was travelling along a dry river bed, completely destroyed by the inferno, at the start of Cudlee Creek when he came across the young animal.

He said the area was void of colour. "Just a mixture of brown and black.

"You couldn't see the dead animals but at times you could smell them."

German's online journal, Spiegel, said the image symbolised the "horror of the Australian bushfire catastrophe" in which ecologists estimate half a billion animals had died.

The Indian Express used the image with the headline "This distressing photo of baby kangaroo shows grim reality of Australian bushfires".

Another of Brad Fleet’s striking photos taken inside the Cudlee Creek fireground, at Lenswood. Picture: Brad Fleet
Another of Brad Fleet’s striking photos taken inside the Cudlee Creek fireground, at Lenswood. Picture: Brad Fleet

 

Fleet's Instagram post, captioned "It feels like Australia is burning", attracted 13,300 likes and more than 2300 comments many of which expressed their heartbreak over the tragedy.

"These poor animals," one user said. "Australia's forests are burning and the world is watching. Please God do something for these poor, beautiful creatures."

Another user said: "It is the picture of the crisis."

Celebrities, including Nicole Kidman, Pink and James Packer, have pledged millions of dollars towards Australian bushfire funds. Chris Hemsworth has promised to donate $1m from his family.

Comedian Celeste Barber has raised $40 million alone.

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen and Hollywood actor and model Scott Eastwood used Fleet's image to encourage their millions of followers to donate to bushfire funds.

"I'm so bummed to see a country I love so much in pain," Eastwood said.

Environmental news magazine Earth Focus also shared the image, encouraging followers to donate and saying: "This photo speaks a thousand words".

 

 

 

Advertiser photographer Brad Fleet.
Advertiser photographer Brad Fleet.