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.
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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
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.