It’s been a tough start to 2020, particularly for the koalas, kangaroos, lizards, snakes, birds, bats, sheep, cows, and other animals who call Australia home. So far, it’s estimated that more than 1 billion animals are dead from the bushfires, and it’s not just flames that are killing them: heat stress, lack of food, and displacement from their normal habitats are all adding to the difficulties facing so many species.
But where there’s life, there’s hope. Firefighters, rescue workers, and volunteers are doing terrific work and making a massive difference for animals. These are the good news stories you need to know!
In early January, this little calf’s herd died in fires on a property in South Australia. Only she survived. She was taken to an animal sanctuary called Edgar’s Mission, where – exhausted – she quickly sank into a bed of straw. The kind folks at the sanctuary named her Phoenix, because she emerged from the ashes of the worst bushfire season Australia has ever seen. Here she is being bottle-fed at her new loving home, where she will also never be killed for her flesh or abused for her milk:
Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals Media
Clare was injured in the Clarendon fires in January and unfortunately had an infected neck. She was rehabilitated at the Southern Koala Rescue Centre and released back into the wild, where she took her time finding the perfect tree to climb first.
They may not have the charismatic cuteness of a koala or kangaroo, but slugs also play a vital role in Australia’s ecosystems. After fires ripped through Mount Kaputar, New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service feared that the endangered pink slug who called the area home might be lost. Thankfully, about 60 of them were spotted by rangers in a recent visit to the area.
St Kilda Possum
Photographer Doug Gimesy was travelling through St Kilda on a 45-degree day when he saw a small possum sitting, clearly distressed, in the middle lane of a major road. While other people drove around and over (who does that?) the little furry ball, Doug stopped peak hour traffic to rescue him. He wrapped him in a towel, gave him an ice cube to help deal with the heat stress, and took him to a nearby vet clinic, where he recovered quickly.
View this post on Instagram
Most of these rescues were possible only because kind people donated money to help support animal carers across Australia. We’re forever grateful to everyone who has donated their time and money to help Australia recover.
To continue helping animals, humans need to adopt more sustainable habits and address their personal contributions to climate change – the factor that scientists agree has made this bushfire season so lethal.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the animal agriculture sector is responsible for up to 18% of human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions. At nearly every stage of meat, egg, and milk production, climate-changing gases are released into the atmosphere, disrupting weather patterns, raising temperatures, and damaging the health of ecosystems. A recent University of Oxford study found that avoiding meat and dairy is the “single biggest way” for individuals to reduce their environmental impact.
It’s time for Australia to go vegan. Get started now!