Helping animals affected by the Australian bushfires

By Phoebe Wynne

Like the rest of the world, we’ve been following the tragedy unfolding in Australia. A series of bushfires have been raging across Australia after record-breaking high temperatures and months of severe drought.

Although recent rains have brought some relief, 60+ fires were still burning in the states of New South Wales and Victoria last week.

Whilst 31 humans have lost their lives to date, the animal loss of life and habitat is colossal. More than 100,000 square km of bush, forest and parks across Australia has burned.

Koala Bear

To hear such sad news, we all wanted to do something to help.

As an expat Aussie, whose father is an on call volunteer firefighter on the North Coast of NSW, and whose little nephew can’t play outside due to the poor quality of air caused by the smoke, I wanted to help. So as a researcher, I did what I know best: create a good survey.

BVA BDRC staff were invited to enter for a small fee, with the top scorer receiving an Australian selection of bakes specialities including lamingtons, Anzac biscuits and fairy bread. All funds raised will be going to WIRES, the organisation looking after all the Australia wildlife being affected by the fires burning across the country.

Entrants were given a ten minute window (to reduce the likelihood of anyone cheekily Googling results) to complete the 26 multiple choice questions about Australia.

Questions included: how does a box jellyfish’s toxin kill humans? If an Australian was wearing 'trackie dacks', what would they be wearing? And what shape is a wombat’s poop? …It’s square if you were wondering.

Our Australian colleagues were not allowed to take part, due to their obvious advantage, but they had this to say:

 “A big THANK YOU to everyone for the generous contributions to the WIRES charity initiative down under.  I was really touched when I heard that the UK team were running it.

WIRES is an amazing charity.  The people affected should largely be insured, although some will have been under or uninsured, but the animals can’t escape or rebuild as readily themselves.  It’s obviously been a massive thing here and the level of international interest and support has been really heartwarming." Georgina Woodley, MD of BVA BDRC’s Australian office.

So far we’ve raised just under £400 and donations are still coming in. If you’d like to add to the pot, do get in touch, or alternatively send your donations direct to WIRES https://www.wires.org.au/.

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