The enormity of this summer’s tragedy continues as we learn of the millions of animals lost in the raging bushfires. Generous funds the world over are not only being raised for people who have lost their homes and businesses, but also for our precious wildlife that has been equally devastated by the fires.
Clever reminder of animals in need
One NYC advertising agency has come up with the cute and rather ingenious idea of placing stuffed koalas around the city with a tag indicating how people can donate money to Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES). Koalas are certainly an immediate symbol of Australia and the plush toys have popped everywhere to remind New Yorkers of those in need. Koalas have been seen in all the city’s hot spots such as Times Square, Central Park and outside Radio City Music Hall and the response has been amazing.
“Friday morning at the crack of dawn, the @cumminsandpartners__nyc team and I rented a van and drove all over NYC to place dozens of stuffed koala plush toys to poles and trees to help spread awareness about this tragedy,” freelance photographer, Jeremy Cohen said on his Instagram page. “Attached to the koalas is a QR code that directs passersby to the Koalas of NYC GoFundMe page to spread awareness and raise money for @wireswildliferescue .
Jeremy’s photos on the Koalas of NYC Instagram page have been inundated with comments of delight and gratitude. “I love this fund raising effort, great idea!” said one follower, and “Thank you USA from all the Koalas in Australia,” said another.
Our koalas in need
WIRES has stated on their GoFundMe page that “the allocation of donations received by WIRES will be used to assist as many animals as possible across our nation – we can and will allocate funding and support to all states and territories where needed to assist animals affected by this crisis.”
The numbers of animals affected by the fires have skyrocketed with NBN News reporting that more than one billion are thought to have been killed. However our koalas have particularly suffered. Sam Mitchell, co-owner of the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, reported to Guardian Australia that the koala population had grown to approximately 50,000 on the island and that probably half of these were killed in the fires.
How can I help?
Funds are needed immediately to help save and care for all animals affected by bushfires and now is the time to donate. WIRES have had a huge response, and state on their GoFundMe page that their staff of qualified experts and volunteers “are working around the clock to ensure that as many native animals as possible receive the ongoing care, supplementary food and recovery they need. This includes koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, possums, echidnas, birds, reptiles and more.”
However, this isn’t the only way to help out. There are many other avenues you can take to assist our wildlife that is so desperately in need, such as donating to other organisations such as Koala Ark and also Zoos Victoria which is collecting donations to help fund emergency veterinary care and scientific intervention, for example exploring supplementary feeding for the animals who have survived, but whose habitats have been destroyed by the bushfires.
Another GoFundMe campaign has been set up on behalf of the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and is causing quite a stir with the many donations it has received. Now having reached over a staggering $6.8 million, it has reported by 10daily as the most successful GoFundMe campaign ever in Australia.
The worldwide response has been amazing as everyone is digging their hands in their pockets to help our wildlife. It’s times such as these when we see such a beautiful side of humanity and the fact that even an advertising agency on the other side of the world has stepped up to help, shows just how much the world is thinking of us right now – and of course our depleted population of gorgeous native animals.