"We wanted to be able to do our part to help make the situation better." This statement coming from Allen Monroe, the President and CEO of the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. The Living Desert has donated $7,000 to Zoos Victoria's Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund. Monroe says this organization is "Spearheading the efforts in Australia to coordinate all the rehabilitation and care that all these animals that have their homes destroyed that are in need of food and water, and at times urgent medical care"
Nearly 18 million acres of land has burned in Australia since September causing thousands to evacuate and potentially killing millions of animals.
There is an immediate need of help and The Living Desert is encouraging others to donate. Monroe says, "Other zoos in North America have posted similar messages and are making similar donations and encourage members to help our Australia friends who are in need of support this time."
There are many other organizations offering to help all those affected by the fires, but it's important to recognize which ones are legitimate. Monroe adds, "Look for major conservation organizations that have a long history of supporting this kind of work."
The Living Desert is expecting its Australian Adventures habitat to open March 21st of this year. Monroe explains, "To be in the same space with wallabies and emus, and some of the reptiles and birds found in Australia. We hope that will encourage our guests to think more about the needs to protect these animals all around the world."
Donations are needed right now in Australia and help will be needed for many years to come. Monroe states, "The conservation organizations in Australia are going to have to work together to put in place plans to introduce these animals back into their habitat once hopefully the rains return and the grasses and leaves come back and the habitat can be restored."
Here are a few organizations needing donations in Australia:
AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS: Since July, the Australian Red Cross has assisted more than 18,600 people affected by the fires.
FOUNDATION FOR RURAL & REGIONAL RENEWAL: Australian nonprofit raising funds to distribute as grants to rural and regional communities for disaster recovery projects.
GIVIT: Australian nonprofit GIVIT is collecting donation items requested by people affected by the fires. Items range from dog food to fencing materials.
WIRES: The New South Wales-based Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc., Australia's largest wildlife rescue organization
KOALA HOSPITAL PORT MACQUARIE: This koala hospital in New South Wales is accepting donations to fund the rescue, treatment and release of koalas, as well as research and education about koalas
WILDLIFE VICTORIA: Nonprofit that provides wildlife emergency response services.
ZOOS VICTORIA: A nonprofit conservation organization of three zoos in this Australian state, Zoos Victoria is collecting donations to fund emergency veterinary assistance and scientific intervention for affected animals.
KANGAROO ISLAND WILDLIFE PARK: This wildlife park in South Australia is raising money for koala veterinary costs, koala milk and supplements, and extra holding and rehabilitation enclosures.
AUSTRALIAN KOALA FOUNDATION: This foundation allows you to "adopt" a koala through a symbolic foster program; your monthly fee funds protection efforts for wild koalas.