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Optimism Ablaze

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

by BEN RICHARDSON - The Irwin Family treated its 90,000th patient in wake of the Australian bushfire crisis. Let’s address how we can help in the efforts as well.

NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia. (Jan. 18, 2020) - The late Steve Irwin adopted the term “Wildlife Warrior” to sum up his life’s purpose.

SOURCE: (Animal Planet, Discovery Inc.)

“My job, my mission, the reason I’ve been put onto this planet, is to save wildlife. And I thank you for comin’ with me. Yeah, let’s get 'em!” Steve Irwin said.

Almost 14 years have passed since the “Crocodile Hunter” lost his life in a tragic stingray accident, but his wife Terri Irwin and two children, Bindi and Robert, are working tirelessly to carry on Steve’s Wildlife Warrior vision. In fact, they have officially saved 90,000 animals, many of which were injured in the devastating bushfires. Steve’s legacy is alive and well.

“We’ve been putting together care packages for wildlife rescuers as well as providing much needed medical care at our Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital,” Bindi Irwin said in her recent Instagram post.

Of the many animal populations devastated by the fires, including platypuses, kangaroos, and countless other only-in-Australia creatures, the koala bear has taken the hardest hit. Scientists from the University of Sydney stress that the disturbing decline in koala populations has reached an all time concern, with conservative estimates at around 8,000 koala deaths since the fires first started. (For perspective, the Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 100,000 koalas left in the wild, possibly as few as 43,000.)

“The consideration with koalas is that their instinct is to go up--safety is in the top of the tree, and with a hot fire, eucalyptus trees have so much oil in their leaves they actually ignite and explode,” Terri Irwin said in an interview on Channel 7 Sunrise News in Sydney, New South Wales.

“So being able to treat koalas is few and far between because they’re basically incinerated, which is absolutely heartbreaking,” she added.

Bindi checks up on a mother koala bear who fell out of a burning tree and an endangered tree kangaroo, both being treated in the hospital her late father built.

SOURCE: (Channel 7 Sunrise News Sydney)

Almost six months have passed since nonstop bushfires began metastasizing at the mere flick of the wind across dry southeast Australia in what that nation has officially declared “The Black Summer” (our winter is summer down under). The Irwin family, alongside selfless volunteer firefighters from the U.S. and Canada, realize that the necessity for animal conservation has become greater than ever before. They have attacked the dire circumstances head on, hoping to save as many of the estimated 1 billion misplaced animals as they can with the limited resources at their disposal.

Moving forward from this unforgettably dark chapter of Australian history, the Irwin family has urged Wildlife Warriors from around the globe to support rescue initiatives. Money is growing ever tight, as the majority of concern tends to prioritize saving homes, farmland and property. So, how exactly should a teenager from Westfield go about partaking in helping save Australia’s wildlife? How does one decide which organizations to give to, and which one will utilize said donations to the fullest extent?

Australian Prime Minister calls the 200 volunteer firefighters from the United States and Canada “heroes” as the crews work tirelessly to save wildlife and smother the flames.

SOURCE: (NRMA Australia, Los Angeles Times)

Linked below are three organization donation pages that ensure your online monetary donations will go DIRECTLY to those working on the front lines of the crisis. Remember that giving to online fundraisers, GoFundMe pages and certain professional charities does not ensure that 100 percent of the money goes to the cause and not the middle man’s pocket.

Though flames have swept through the country of Australia and wiped out unfathomable numbers of animals, what the Irwins have set ablaze in response is even more powerful: optimism.

“If we save our wild places, we will ultimately save ourselves,” Steve Irwin said.

Whatever saving wild places means to you, be it donating money or volunteering at a local no-kill animal shelter, applying this principle not only honors the planet, but Steve Irwin as well. In other words, you kill two birds with two stones--or as Steve would say, feed two birds with one scone.

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