The fires in Australia are horrific and so far have been responsible for the deaths of 25 people and destroying more than 2,000 homes. The videos we're seeing of people fleeing, walls of fire and dead animals littering the road are difficult to see, especially knowing that at least some of these fires may have been set deliberately. So far, 24 people have been arrested in Australia for arson, and more than 100 more have either been arrested or have been cited on lesser charges of contributing to the problem. This is mind boggling to me. How can people intentionally cause this kind of harm to others?
The impact of the fires on the animal community in Australia is staggering, millions of animals have been killed and their habitats have been decimated, and it's not clear that they will ever recover.
Back in November, I did a blog about a woman who literally gave the shirt off her back to save a koala from the wildfires in Australia. They named the koala Lewis and he was taken to Port Macquarie Koala Hospital where he was treated for his injuries. The woman visited Lewis about a week after the rescue and at the time Lewis was seemingly doing ok with news broadcasts airing the footage of the sweet reunion.
Sadly, Lewis died a few weeks later after his caregivers say his injuries were just too great to overcome.
The koala population is especially vulnerable to fires because their numbers were already low and they don't flee like other animals. Instead, they climb trees to the top in the hopes of waiting out the danger. Once there, they're either dying from smoke inhalation or being burned alive. It's horrifying to even think about.
Despite the danger, so many people are willing to aid koalas, wombats, kangaroos and other animals in an attempt to save as many as they can. Residents say koalas are approaching them seeking out water, and recently, two cousins on Kangaroo Island, one of the areas worst hit by these fires, decided to load up their car with as many koalas as they could, to try to get them to safety. So far, they've rescued about 20. Bindi Irwin, her mother, Terri, and her brother, Robert are helping thousands of animals affected by the fire at the Australia Zoo.
Despite the tragedy, seeing people helping not only one another, but animals, gives me hope for all of us. If you would like to help, you can donate to families affected, the firefighters and to animal organizations helping wildlife. Find all the info you need to know HERE.