You’re probably aware of the bushfires that have blazed through approximately 20 million acres of Australia, destroying thousands of homes and claiming the lives of both humans and wildlife. It is estimated that the fires, which have been burning across the continent for months, have caused the deaths of hundreds of millions of animals, including nearly a third of the koala population in New South Wales.
Fortunately, Australian zoos are uniquely equipped to help, leveraging their expertise and facilities to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate wildlife impacted by the fires.
Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital took in hundreds of gray-headed flying foxes after the rescue center where they were previously housed was at risk of fire and evacuated.
Adelaide Zoo is lending a hand by sending their animal health team to assist with emergency cases and donating items to koala rehabilitation facilities.
Taronga Conservation Society Australia, which operates two zoos in New South Wales, launched an urgent appeal to support their conservation partners at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. They said “thank you” to emergency services personnel and volunteers by giving away more than 20,000 complimentary zoo passes in December.
Zoos Victoria, which oversees three facilities, sent its veterinarians to the East Gippsland region at the request of Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Additionally, they created the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund, which accepts tax-deductible donations to go toward long-term care for fire-impacted animals.
Mogo Wildlife Park and Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park took more hands-on approaches, physically moving their animals to safe locations and assisting in putting out the fires. Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park is also working with local wildlife rescuers to provide short- and long-term care, build firebreaks, maintain safe zones for wildlife and keep equipment on hand to safely evacuate large numbers of animals.
You can help Australian wildlife, too, by donating to any of these deserving nonprofits. Whatever you can contribute truly makes a difference!