Heart-wrenching images of koalas affected by the recent bushfires continue to emerge on the news and social media channels.
Already listed as vulnerable in NSW and Queensland, thousands of hectares of koala habitat have been destroyed in the blaze.
But many Australians are stepping up to do their bit for the national icon, as others are being urged to pitch in.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on NSW’s Mid North Coast has been treating dozens of injured koalas from the nearby fires.
The facility has set up a gofundme campaign which has so far raised more than $1 million.
“The bushfires in and around Port Macquarie in November devastated a genetically diverse koala population. As many as 350 koalas have perished with approximately 75 per cent of the fireground footprint being prime koala habitat,” the campaign states.
“Initially, the hospital’s aim was to raise money to purchase and distribute automatic drinking stations which will be installed in the burnt areas to help in koala and wildlife survival.
“Donations have now reached an incredible amount and we are extending the project to establish a wild koala breeding program.”
WIRES, a NSW wildlife rescue and rehabilitation charity, has provided information about how to help koalas and other animals.
“It is impossible to estimate the number of native animals that have already been killed or how many more will be lost in the fires, or to predict the impact that this additional loss of habitat on top of the drought will have on wild populations,” WIRES material says.
The group says “if you find wildlife impacted by fires in NSW, please contact WIRES Rescue Line on 1300 094 737” and that more information about assisting native animals is available on the WIRES Bushfire Factsheet.
It has also set up an emergency fund to assist wildlife.
Some individuals are taking matters into their own hands.
One group called Rescue Craft Collective is encouraging Australians to make and donate items for wildlife hit by the fires.
“We are a community helping you to make up your own pouches, mittens, birds nests, bat wraps, knitted blankets and hanging baskets for animals affected by the fires,” material from the group says.
Members of the group will then distribute the craft donations to different areas on the east coast.
Four people died and 600 homes have been lost in NSW as fires continue to rage, and blazes burn across Queensland and South Australia where fire crews are also battling catastrophic conditions.
More than 20 ex-fire chiefs from across Australia last week urged the federal government to declare a climate emergency amid the bushfires.