The devastating wildfires that have been spreading across Australia since September have burned millions of acres, destroyed more than 2,000 homes and claimed the lives of more than two dozen people. One of the most catastrophic consequences of the fires is the massive number of wildlife that has perished and will continue to succumb to the smoke and flames.
Some experts estimate that more than 1 billion animals have died in the Australian fires, including many mammals, birds and reptiles. This number does not account for bats, frogs, insects or other invertebrates. The crushing number of losses has ecologists worried that several species could face extinction.
Your Help Can Make a Difference
The sheer magnitude of the death and destruction caused by the fires can seem overwhelming, causing people to feel as though there’s nothing one person could do that would have enough of an impact. However, there is power in numbers, and when many individuals come together to support a cause, the results can be astonishing.
If you feel compelled to give financial help to the animals affected by the Australian bushfires, the following are several reputable organizations that can transform your aid into the most meaningful assistance possible.
While there are currently no fires near the Australia Zoo in Queensland or the conservation properties run by Steve Irwin’s family, Bindi and Robert Irwin have suggested donating to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors. The zoo’s hospital takes in wildlife from all over Australia, as Bindi noted in this Instagram post about bats evacuated from fire-stricken areas.
“Our Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has treated over 100 of these beautiful little souls,” she posted. “I wanted to share with you some of the sweet faces that are getting a second chance at life.”
You can donate at wildlifewarriors.org.au.
NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc. (WIRES) is urgently requesting assistance as they work to rescue wildlife from the fires in the New South Wales region. The organization reports that in December alone, WIRES received more than 20,000 calls and that their volunteers attended over 3,300 rescues.
The non-profit reports that people outside of Australia have experienced problems donating directly through their website, so they have set up a Facebook fundraiser, which you can access here.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
Along with focusing on preservation and conservation, this rescue society helps sick and injured koalas. To date, the hospital has treated more than 30 of these cute animals for burns and dehydration.
The hospital has organized a fundraiser, which you can access on gofundme, to purchase and distribute automatic drinking stations. These will be installed in the burnt areas to assist in the survival of koalas and other wildlife. The organization will also use the donations to fund a wild koala breeding program with the hope of establishing a new population of koalas for return to the wild.
[arve url=”https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-thirsty-koalas-devastated-by-recent-fires” /]
The World Wildlife Fund
The WWF is committed to saving and planting 2 billion trees over the next decade in an ambitious effort to help koalas survive. This plan includes stopping excessive tree-clearing, protecting existing bushland and planting new trees.
You can donate here to help the foundation plant 10,000 trees once the fires clear.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals New South Wales (RSPCA NSW) cares for, treats, protects and re-homes animals across the state. The not-for-profit organization is currently seeking donations as they assist members of the public in keeping their pets and livestock safe from the fires. They also rescue and treat wildlife and livestock affected by the fires.
Learn more or donate on the RSPCA Bushfire Appeal page.
The Rescue Collective
If you prefer to donate goods, The Rescue Collective keeps a running wishlist. The collective is a group of volunteers working together to support animal rescue, wildlife organizations and their volunteers across the East Coast of Australia.
Find out more by visiting their Facebook page.
The good news is that most of these places appear to be meeting and exceeding their donation goals. All that money can hopefully help save the animals — and, in doing so, restore some of the beauty and biodiversity of a country in need.