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Turning Tragedy Into Hope

Record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought ignited a series of massive bushfires across Australia, putting people, pets, and millions of unique wildlife species in grave danger.

While recent rains have slowed these fires down, Australia is still reeling from the initial damage and continuing to contain more than 80 fires nationwide.

“Probably the worst fire season we’ve seen out here, probably ever.”

Darren Maier is the CEO of the RSPCA Queensland and is quite familiar with bushfires and the damage that comes with them. “We’ve had bad fires in the past, but usually they’re contained to an area, whereas this has just been a full-on blaze right across the country,” he says.

He estimates that this year the organization has seen three times as many koalas in the door than in past years, and that’s not including all other Australian animals. During this fire season, they’ve been receiving close to 80 animals a day, including birds, reptiles, kangaroos, gliders, and possums.

With animal death tolls in the billions, Maier says it’s easy to feel disheartened or hopeless, but he recalls a sweet story about a Koala and her bub, Ainsley and Rupert.

Ainsley and Rupert waiting for rescue

“All the pads on their feet had been burnt quite severely, and often the damage that the animals get is not just burns, it’s also smoke inhalation, and the fact that they’re already coming from a place where, the sustenance within their leaves, within the eucalyptus trees, is already dry due to the droughts,” he says.

The mom and bub have been at the RSPCA Queensland for three months now, and pending final vet checks, they are ready for release.

“The scale of the tragedy here is horrifying, but within that, there’s still little rays of hope. There are animals that have survived; there are animals that are in care, just like Ainsley and Rupert. There are still animals that need our help. For those that are kind of feeling the sheer weight of the tragedy is too much to bear, I’d really ask them just to think about the ones that are still living here, and to help us make a difference for them. ”

Thanks to your support, GreaterGood.org has granted the organization $35,000 to help with rescues and medical care, help that Maier says is critical for these animals.

“A massive thank you! Every little bit helps, and the first donation that we got from [GreatergGood.org] was such a huge help… It’s not only great for the animals, but it’s also great for the people here just to know we’ve got the support to be able to continue to do the great work that they do. Without people like you, the work would become so much harder.”

To see updates and how your donations are helping click here.