Australia bushfires: Love koalas? Five heartwarming ways to save precious lives!

Swapna Raghu Sanand
Increased support comprising of extra food and water for fire-affected landholders and farmers in NSW. (Reuters image)

Heart-wrenching to know that Kangaroo island in Australia has lost over 50 per cent of its koala population! Over 6 million hectares of land in Australia have been destroyed in the recent bushfires. Wondering how you can pitch in to help?

A thread on Twitter has gone viral as it indicates a list of places that you can donate to in order to help Australia directly through an organization of your choice! We have examined every place mentioned on this list and put together a thorough compilation on what bushfire donation/volunteer service opportunity each place offers you!

1. Australian Red Cross: The Australian Red Cross has come out with notable initiatives including bushfire emergency grants of $5000 for those who lost their homes or their primary place of residence during July 2019 and February 2020. The Australian Red Cross bushfire grant is open till April 2020. Several initiatives are listed on the website for those who want to register, donate and volunteer as well.

READ | Australia Bushfire Crisis: Red Cross Emergency Grant of $5000, how to apply

2. NSW Rural Fire Service: They provide vital community service and are more than just a fire emergency service. They extend their assistance with non-emergency situations as well. Their bushfire related initiatives include:

NSW Rural Fire Service Bushfire apps for participating fire agencies in New Zealand and Australia.
Financial support for volunteer firefighters.
Mental health support and 24×7 helpline
Evacuation centres to take animals
Disaster relief recovery for cleanup of properties that have been destroyed by the recent bushfires. This includes insured and uninsured properties.
Increased support comprising of extra food and water for fire-affected landholders and farmers in NSW.

3. The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital: Around 75 koalas burnt and injured in Australian bushfires had been treated at the Koala hospital. The heartening news is that worldwide support is pouring in for the Koala Hospital and has already crossed $3.7 in funding through GoFundMe campaign. On Facebook, the hospital puts out regular updates on how donations are being put to good use. A latest Facebook post on 6th January shares that the hospital has been inundated with supplies to treat burnt koalas and large boxes of veterinary supplies are kept ready to send to the south coast of NSW and to assist those who are entrusted with the task of treating burnt wildlife. Note that these supplies are being trucked down free of charge.

4. WWF Australia: The organisation is seeking emergency funds to care for injured wildlife and to help restore forest homes that koalas and other animals have lost.

Suppose you donate $50, the WWF Australia website informs in its listing that your $50 could help plant the first 10,000 trees in koala habitats. This way, you can get an idea of what your donation is being used for.

WWF-Australia also highlights on its website several inspiring initiatives taken up by individuals to save wildlife. A notable example is Frank Binkley, a farmer who is building a koala sanctuary on his property by teaming up with a koala furniture maker to build thousands of koala food trees! In fact, Koala furniture company is WWF’s first corporate partner to fund the organisation’s tree recovery plan.

5. WIRES Emergency Fund for Wildlife: In December 2019, the emergency helpline got more than 20,000 calls and their volunteers facilitated 3,300 rescues. As bushfires continue, the team is working quietly to help animals that require treatment and care. A key concern remains smoke inhalation during bushfires, which is a major cause of fatalities in animals. Providing timely treatment and clean water for injured and dehydrated animals are part of the service initiatives that the donated funds are used for.

READ | Australia bush fires: Climate change adaptation essential on emergency footing!

While the Australian bushfires are continents away from where you are, there is much that can be done by donating generously or volunteering online to sign up for essential services or raising funds online to care for the injured.

Yes, with just a click, you can now pitch into help save precious lives!