Blazes in Australia
Blazes have torn through bushland, wooded areas, and national parks like the Blue Mountains. Some of Australia’s largest cities have also been affected, including Melbourne and Sydney – where fires have damaged homes in the outer suburbs and thick plumes of smoke have blanketed the urban center. Earlier in December, the smoke was so bad in Sydney that air quality measured 11 times the “hazardous” level.
By now, everybody heard about the unforeseen challenges experienced by the koala population because of the worst bushfires in Australia. If you were touched by the disaster of these beloved animals, there are ways to help, in the form of donations and support.
Koalas in Danger
New South Wales and parts of Victoria were among the worst affected areas, while fires have broken across Australia. According to Australian Koala Foundation’s Deborah Tabart, thousands of koalas have died so far in the blazes, with the animals losing over 80% of their natural habitat in the bush. Tabart has expressed great concern in the remaining numbers of the koalas, while Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help fund automatic drinking stations for the animals.
Crew Leaders of Wildlife Service have been searching for the animals in the Port Macquarie area, according to the hospital, and up to now, more than 31 koalas have been injured and brought to the hospital because of the fires. The koalas have been taken care of: they have been rehydrated, examined for burns and treated with cream and been bandaged, with the dressings being changed every three days.
Until now, the campaign reached the astonishing $4.1 million. Initially, the hospital set the goal of $25,000 to buy a water-carrying vehicle to be able to replenish drinking stations. Thanks to the huge amount raised, the organisation will establish a wild koala breeding programme.
“Some of the funds raised through [GoFundMe] will be directed to building a ‘Koala Ark’, a facility to allow the surviving koalas to be accommodated in a healthy habitat area. Hopefully, these koalas will breed and a new population of koalas will be established for return to the wild,” the hospital’s campaign page says. More information on the initiative is available at the fundraising page.
Other animals devastated by Australia’s fires
Other animals that have been devastated by the fires include birds, reptiles and other mammals, while more than 20 people have died. The World Wildlife Fund Australia released a statement estimating that “around 1.25 billion animals may have been killed directly or indirectly from fires that have burnt 8.4 million hectares across Australia”. Some species “may have tipped over the brink of extinction”, but the full extent of the devastation will not be known until the fires are over.
The NSW Rural Fire Service has set up a page where members of the public can support the families of the fire fighters that have died battling the flames.
Our biggest help will be a more respectful approach to Mother Nature.