Seth MacFarlane’s massive $1m donation
In the wake of one of Australia's worst bushfire seasons on record, communities are now attempting to piece together what's left of damaged homes and shattered livelihoods.
In a bid to ease the burden on Australia's wildlife, with some species pushed to the brink of extinction, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane is now among the growing number of celebrities donating to the cause.
"A huge thanks to Seth MacFarlane for donating a million dollars to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to help with the influx of patients affected by drought and bushfire," read the a tweet from the Irwins' official Wildlife Warriors account.
"We're so pleased to announce that we will be naming our new Koala Intensive Care Ward in recognition of Seth's generosity."
Other celebrities have also donated to help battle the fires, including Chris Hemsworth, Nina Dobrev and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Earlier this month, Bindi Irwin said "our Wildlife Hospital is busier than ever … having officially treated over 90,000 patients".
"With so many devastating fires within Australia, my heart breaks for the people and wildlife who have lost so much," she posted on Instagram.
She also shared a heartfelt post of her late father, Steve Irwin, reflecting on how he'd feel about the wildlife devastation in the wake of so many blazes.
View this post on Instagram
Dad spent his life working so hard to protect wildlife and wild places, especially in Australia. I wish he was here right now to give advice and strength during this time of devastation with the bushfires. I know that his spirit lives on through our conservation work and I hope together we can make him proud. 💙🙏🏼
The Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, which was founded by Steve and Terri Irwin in 2002, weren't the only ones to tweet their thanks.
Terri Irwin shared her heartfelt appreciation from her own personal account as well.
"Seth's generosity gives me hope for the future of koalas," she said, referring to a species now officially in crisis.
Words cannot begin to express the heartfelt appreciation I have for @SethMacFarlane. This donation will enable us to not only treat more koalas, but to also more effectively treat koalas with burns and severe injuries. Seth’s generosity gives me hope for the future of koalas. https://t.co/Z9H8Wer64z— Terri Irwin (@TerriIrwin) January 25, 2020
The Australian Koala Foundation (AKF) estimates there are less than 100,000 koalas left in the wild, possibly as few as 43,000, all residing in the east of the country.
If there really are lower than 50,000 koalas left, the species would be "functionally extinct". That is debatable, as some populations are doing better than others. But there is no doubt the koala is in danger.
And they aren't the only ones struggling.
View this post on Instagram
Barry is one tough koala! After being caught in the bushfires devastating Australia, he was diagnosed with pulmonary disease from smoke inhalation. Thankfully, after some love and care from the #AustraliaZoo Wildlife Hospital team, he’s on the road to recovery and will hopefully soon be ready for release into a safe area. To find out more about how you can help koalas just like Barry visit www.wildlifewarriors.org 🌿🐨 — @wildlifewarriorsworldwide
"The fires will have killed millions of animals … mammals, birds, reptiles," Wildlife Victoria boss Megan Davidson said.
University of Sydney ecologist Chris Dickman predicted that bushfires are likely to have killed almost 500 million animals since September, but concedes the true toll was likely to be far higher.
For those who encounter displaced wildlife or are living close to once densely populated habitats, there are a few ways to help thirsty animals:
• Distribute containers of water outdoors, being sure to throw in some sticks and leaves so that insects have something to cling to
• Swimming pool owners should add "climb-out points" so animals don't drown
• Fruit tree owners should remove netting to share their produce
• When offering pellets and hay, be sure to spread the food out so that species have a lesser chance of being targeted by predators.