BALTIMORE — The Maryland Zoo announced that it will donate funds and begin a campaign to support wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts in response to the Australia wildfires.
An immediate donation of $3,000 from the Zoo’s Conservation Emergency Fund and Zoo volunteers will go directly to Zoos Victoria.
As a nonprofit, state-run organization, Zoos Victoria includes three sites: Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo, and Werribee Open Range Zoo, and is operating three wildlife triage centers on the bushfire front lines.
“The impact of the Australia bushfires on wildlife is devastating,” said Don Hutchinson, president and CEO of The Maryland Zoo. “Rescue and rehabilitative efforts will continue for a long time to come, and the needs will certainly grow. Conservation is at the forefront of The Maryland Zoo’s mission, and we want to support our conservation colleagues at Zoos Victoria.”
The bushfires have been burning since September 2019 and have consumed 15 million acres, more than double the size of the state of Maryland.
Preliminary reports estimate that as many as one billion animals, representing thousands of species, have perished in the bushfires.
The astonishing numbers include signature Australian species such as koalas and kangaroos, and also include thousands of lesser known species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects.
The funds will not only support immediate medical response, but also the long-term need for food, daily care and refuge for animals whose habitats have been destroyed by the bushfires.