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Granby Zoo hoping to help Australian wildlife affected by wildfires

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WATCH: Wildfires in Australia have devastated habitats for thousands of species of animals in that country. As Global’s Phil Capenter reports, the Granby Zoo is hoping to lend assistance, with the help of Quebecers. – Jan 9, 2020

Moved by what they’ve seen happening to animals with the wildfires in Australia, staff at Granby Zoo decided to help.

“It’s pretty sad,” said conservationist Chantal Routhier. “I don’t like to see all these pictures of the animals dying.”

The zoo staff are trying to raise money for the animals. They started an online fundraiser Wednesday, hoping to raise $20,000. They got more than they expected.

“We adjusted the objective and now we try to raise $60,000,” conservationist Véronique Bellavance told Global News. “We’re giving the money to the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund that was created by the Victoria Zoo.”

READ MORE: Nova Scotia woman caring for koalas amid Australian bushfires

As of mid-afternoon Thursday they had already raised close to $40,000.

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Things are desperate for the animals. Since September, bush fires have ravaged areas roughly equivalent to the size of Nova Scotia. That’s putting millions of birds, reptiles and mammals such as koalas at risk.

Routhier said the koalas have several populations. They can’t be mixed because their genes are different, so they have to be housed separately until the fires are over. Routhier added that there is a shortage of space for many other animals.

“Because if the habitat is lost forever, actually they will have to manage differently,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘Dangerous’ weather conditions in southeast Australia prompt more evacuations

She also pointed out that not all the animals can be sent abroad because some carry disease, and that’s why the authorities and zoos there need money.

“They’ll need space,” she said. “They’ll need cages because some animals will need to be isolated.” They’ll also need vets and medication.

For now, Granby Zoo officials plan to continue the fundraiser until Jan. 15. In the end, they want the public to know, it’s about conservation — making sure that the only places we can see animals like these wallabies, kangaroos and koalas aren’t just in a zoo.

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