Sasha's in demand after her fish rescue goes viral

Sasha Ambrose shows the size of the lungfish that she rescued from shallow floodwater in Gympie this week.
Sasha Ambrose shows the size of the lungfish that she rescued from shallow floodwater in Gympie this week. Tanya Easterby

INSTINCT kicked in for Sasha Ambrose when she saw the giant Mary River lungfish flapping at the edge of floodwater on Monday.

While everyone was standing around in awe of the metre-long creature, the 20-year-old reached down, picked it up and became an overnight sensation.

With news crews reporting on the rising flood in the right place at the right time, Sasha was caught on camera rescuing the lungfish from ankle deep water.

The image of her carrying the great prehistoric creature has gone viral and all this week she has been in demand for interviews on radio and television.

Not the type of person to seek out attention, she had hoped the hype about her and the lungfish would die down quickly, but it wasn't to be.

Just as the Queensland lungfish is considered a fascinating fish, viewers and listeners have been intrigued.

It has been protected for 100 years and in 2002 was declared vulnerable.

But today, its numbers are less than 10,000 because its preferred breeding habitats are disappearing.


A Gympie woman carries a lungfish to safety after it ended up in the carpark at a hotel.
A Gympie woman carries a lungfish to safety after it ended up in the carpark at a hotel.

"I think people are interested because they either have never seen a living lungfish before, didn't believe they could grow that big, or because it's an iconic creature for our area," Sasha said.


"I didn't expect such a response.

"A couple of reasons why I could pick it up were that it was exhausted from fighting the floodwaters and funnily enough I had been watching the River Monster series.

"I learned from the show's host not to let it go straight away and keep it out of water so it could catch his breath."

Sasha had been volunteering to help evacuate Wayne's World on Monday and was on a break when she heard people exclaiming about a big fish.

On seeing what all the fuss was about, she couldn't stand by and watch the fish flapping around in the shallow water over the road.

It was obviously exhausted and injured, with a laceration on top of its head.

She thought, "I can't stand this" and reacted to her gut instinct.

"It was one of those moments where I did what I felt should be done. Someone needed to save it."

Gympie Times

Topics:  animals editors picks floods internet lungfish mary river wildlife

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