The fires may be out of the news, but wildlife still needs help! Here’s what you can do to help animals in Australia now
The Australian fires were undoubtedly one of the biggest tragedies of the century. Thanks mainly to government mismanagement and disastrous environmental policies, it is estimated that more than half a billion animals died in Australia during their recent infernos. About 800 million of them were killed in the New South Wales state on the east coast of the country alone, and experts have identified 113 animal species that need help right now. The list of threatened species is likely to grow over time, as experts are able to gather more data.
Although many beautiful koalas, kangaroos, wombats and other native animals have perished, millions more still desperately need assistance.
If you’re an animal lover who would like to help out, here’s what you can do to help Australia’s animals now.
What You Can Do To Help Animals in Australia Now
1. Make Stuff
Believe it or not, animals need stuff. They wouldn’t normally, of course, but since they are literally homeless, and often suffering from burns, they’re in a rather helpless state. The Rescue Collective, a group based in Brisbane, is gathering food, medical supplies, baby bottles, bedding and more for the beasties — you can check out their current wish list on Facebook.
If you have a talent for crafting, sewing or knitting, you can contribute to the efforts of the Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild by making bedding, bandages, joey pouches and more for injured or orphaned animals. Find out how on the guild’s Facebook page.
2. Donate to the Right Organizations
In addition to many animals being injured and suffering during the fires, there has been a devastating loss of habitats that will continue to affect them for years. The raging fires destroyed the homes and food sources for these animals.
Birds, fish, koalas, wallabies and frogs were affected the most during the fires. Many of the species identified by the Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel are even at a high risk of extinction due to the loss of habitat and food sources. It is important to note that some of the species were already at risk before the fires, and the loss of their habitats has made the situation even worse. In addition, some smoldering fires have made it difficult to evaluate the full damage or enter certain areas.
Although the government of Australia has promised to spend millions to help the animals recover, you can also help. Money will be necessary to restore habitats, provide food and give medical care to the animals. Money will also help veterinarians and other experts travel to the affected areas in Australia.
If you want to donate, you must research the organizations first. Unfortunately, disasters entice scammers and multi-billion dollar ‘charities’ that may do more harm than good to urge big-hearted people to hand money over to them, which may not even go directly towards the cause at all. Some legitimate organizations helping Aussie animals include Wildlife Victoria, which is a rescue service operating since 1989, and the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1962.
3. Consider Volunteering Your Time
Donating money is helpful, but if you want to become more involved, why not consider donating your time by becoming a temporary disaster relief worker or volunteer? Just like people do, wildlife needs support during and after disasters. You don’t have to live in Australia to help – relief workers sometimes fly in from other areas to assist local efforts. Animal rescue teams are trained to find, secure and save different species. There is also a need for people to help rehabilitate animals after they are rescued.
So, wondering how can you become a disaster relief worker? You can start by volunteering with one of the many organisations that assist wildlife. Shelters need helpers and are willing to take people without prior training or background. This could be a stepping stone for you to get the experience you need. Your duties may vary from administrative tasks to cleaning up, but you will gain valuable insight into disaster relief work.
If you love you experience and decide you may like to dedicate your life to helping animals, you can start working towards a degree in disaster relief, or alternatively, there are certificates in disaster relief work that can also help you find a position.
4. Pressure The Government
Did you know the government of Australia, whose disastrous water privatisation policies were mainly responsible for the fires burning out of control, was planning to cull tens of thousands of camels and other wild animals by helicopter shooting…for drinking water? This government is clearly not an animal friendly (or planet friendly!) one! If you want to help save the camels, you can add your name to a petition here.
Alternatively, if you’d like to contact Ministers responsible for water, animals and the environment directly, you can email them your thoughts here. Pressure DOES work! Why not organise an emailing campaign with your friends? Make sure you state a specific goal, such as demanding the Minister protect wildlife, stop culling wild animals, or make more water available to the public (as opposed to selling it to the Americans, Chinese, mining industry or cotton growers, as they have done).
5. Spread The Word
Not everyone can donate money or time to the animal cause in Australia. But this doesn’t mean you can’t help in other ways. First, point out the legitimate nonprofits and other organisations (mentioned above) that are supporting wildlife in Australia to friends and family who may be able to donate. Encourage them to help even if you cannot donate right now.
Secondly, spread the word by sharing this article on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform you use the most.
But most importantly, continue to talk about the wildlife crisis in Australia and the fires that affected them. Just because this story is out of the headlines doesn’t mean it’s not still highly relevant.
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