Shelters need donations to help fire-affected animals
AUSTRALIANS wanting to help native animals affected by the bushfires are reminded to donate to Wildlife Victoria's appeal.
Celebrity support for WIRES - the NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service - has helped its donation pool jump to more than $9.3 million last night, but the Wildlife Victoria appeal had received just $1.25 million.
The WIRES campaign can legally only help shelters in NSW.
Comedian Ellen DeGeneres and actor Margot Robbie have used their social media platforms to urge support for WIRES which has been raising money for animals affected by that state's fires since September.
Close to half a billion animals have been killed in NSW and a similar number is expected to have been lost in Victoria with tens of thousands injured or displaced.
Wildlife Victoria chief executive Megan Davidson said she was delighted that WIRES had garnered so much support.
"The NSW fires have been devastating and WIRES do a great job and will make good use of the money,'' she said.
"But Wildlife Victoria is a similar organisation and Victoria's animals have taken a hammering in the past few weeks. The toll is enormous.
"As the firegrounds re-open, and people go back into their communities, Wildlife Victoria is going to co-ordinate to help shelters and vets deal with the influx of injured animals.
"It's going to be a concerted effort over months.''
As many as 20 shelters have been hit directly by the fires.
"If a wildlife shelter has lost everything, we aim to be there for the long haul and help them rebuild,'' Dr Davidson said.
The money will also help shelters near the fire zones which have taken in more evacuated or injured animals.
"It's a volunteer sector and we will do all we can to help them.''
One East Gippsland sanctuary which evacuated as the fires loomed last week was the Goongerah Wombat Refuge.
Carers including Emily Small, who is also operations supervisor of Wildlife Victoria, managed to take small wombats to Orbost but fears are held for adult animals
"We just hope the wombats hunkered down in their burrows and escaped the flames,'' Dr Davidson said.
Donate at wildlifevictoria.org.au