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Assiniboine Park Conservancy pledges $10,000 donation for Australian wildlife, launches emergency fundraising

A firefighter keeps an eye on a controlled fire as they work at building a containment line at a wildfire near Bodalla, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. Authorities are using relatively benign conditions forecast in southeast Australia for a week or more to consolidate containment lines around scores of fires that are likely to burn for weeks without heavy rainfall. .
A firefighter keeps an eye on a controlled fire as they work at building a containment line at a wildfire near Bodalla, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. Authorities are using relatively benign conditions forecast in southeast Australia for a week or more to consolidate containment lines around scores of fires that are likely to burn for weeks without heavy rainfall. . (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Conservancy is pledging $10,000 and launching an emergency fundraising campaign to support wildlife ravaged by ongoing wildfires in Australia.

It says a challenge to the public to match its donation has already raised over $5,000 in 24 hours.

READ MORE: Canada to send 69 more fire personnel to Australia to battle wildfires, minister says

The money is coming from the organization’s Conservation Fund and will be used to rescue, recover and rehabilitate wildlife through two organizations: World Wildlife Fund Canada and Zoos Victoria Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund.

Prehistoric pines survive Australia bushfires
Prehistoric pines survive Australia bushfires

“This is a catastrophic natural disaster resulting in unprecedented habitat destruction and loss of animal life. Some species may be wiped out entirely and others will be vulnerable due to habitat loss,” Dr. Stephen Petersen, director of conservation and research at the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, says in a press release.

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READ MORE: Carrots, sweet potatoes airdropped for Australia’s wallabies as wildfires continue to burn

“There is an immediate need to help injured animals, but in long term there is much work to be done to restore and protect the habitat needed to rebuild wild populations.”

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Recent reports indicate 28 people have died, 2,500 homes have been destroyed and some eight million hectares of land razed in one of Australia’s worst bushfire seasons on record.

READ MORE: Australian PM says country is ‘open for business’ despite wildfires

One University of Sydney ecologist, Chris Dickman, estimates the number of animals killed by the blazes has eclipsed one billion.

The campaign will be accepting donations until Jan. 22.

Australia bushfires: ongoing crisis prompts massive international response
Australia bushfires: ongoing crisis prompts massive international response