How to Help the Millions of Animals & People Threatened by Australia’s Wildfires


Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

Fleeing kangaroos amidst red skies, burnt and dehydrated koalas, firemen herding horses and farm animals from smokey pastures, and people forced from their homes have saturated news channels and social media in one of the most destructive wildfires of our time. Here's a look at what you can do from a short- and long-term perspective. 

As reported on CNN, nearly half a billion animals have been impacted by the fires in NSW alone, with millions potentially dead, according to ecologists at the University of Sydney. That figure includes birds, reptiles, and mammals, except bats. It also excludes insects and frogs -- meaning the true number is likely much higher.

The total number of animals affected nationwide could be as high as a billion, according to Christopher Dickman, the University of Sydney ecologist who led the report.

The blazes, which have been burning across Australia since September, have razed homes and wiped out entire towns – destroying 2,000 homes and killing at least 25 people. Nearly 18 million acres of land have been burned -- much of it bushland, forests and national parks, home to the country's beloved and unique wildlife.

Additionally, the bushfires, which have been burning since September, have killed at least 25 people and destroyed 2,000 homes.

How to help? First, take a minute to learn about what caused the Australian fires:

As reported on USA Today, human-caused climate change lengthens the fire season, decreases precipitation and increases temperature, fueling the blazes, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Last year was both the hottest and driest year ever measured in Australia, the bureau said. December was one of the top two hottest months on record for the nation.



"Climate change is supercharging our natural disaster risks," Greg Mullins, former Fire and Rescue commissioner of New South Wales, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I wish we were wrong, but we’re not."

What provided the spark that ignited this tinderbox? Two dozen people have been accused of deliberately lighting some of the fires, including a teenage volunteer firefighter.

What you need to know about climate change:

As reported on National Geographic, the average temperature of the Earth is rising at nearly twice the rate it was 50 years ago. This rapid warming trend cannot be explained by natural cycles alone, scientists have concluded. The only way to explain the pattern is to include the effect of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by humans.

Current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide in our atmosphere are higher than at any point over the past 800,000 years, and their ability to trap heat is changing our climate in multiple ways.

To come to a scientific conclusion on climate change and what to do about it, the United Nations in 1988 formed a group called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. The IPCC meets every few years to review the latest scientific findings and write a report summarizing all that is known about global warming

The IPCC concluded: “There are several greenhouse gases responsible for warming, and humans emit them in a variety of ways. Most come from the combustion of fossil fuels in cars, buildings, factories, and power plants. The gas responsible for the most warming is carbon dioxide or CO2. Other contributors include methane released from landfills, natural gas and petroleum industries, and agriculture (especially from the digestive systems of grazing animals); nitrous oxide from fertilizers; gases used for refrigeration and industrial processes; and the loss of forests that would otherwise store CO2.”

There are both short- and long-term ways to help those affected by Australia’s fires:

The loss of up to one billion animals affects ALL of us and cannot be ignored.

How to Help, Long-Term:

In the long-term, we – individuals, businesses, government, nonprofits, and academia, must work together to create a sustainable planet by being conscious of how every single decision made may affect the environment and other people. By looking to the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development, it’s possible to gain a framework and a road map on how to embrace sustainability, as an individual or a corporation. Businesses can become Certified B Corporations, certified to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. As a public benefit corporation, Kind Traveler is in the process of obtaining its B Corporation status in 2020. 

As travelers – specifically, the 1.2 billion travelers that took trips last year, it’s important to recognize how purchasing power and every day decisions can have a positive or negative impact on our planet. By voting with your dollars and spending with businesses that are committed to helping you make a social or environmental impact, such as businesses aligned with the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development or B Corporations, it’s possible to maximize your superpowers as a traveler. 

As sustainable travelers, we must consider how we can have a positive impact on the destinations we visit while also eliminating or reducing our carbon footprint. 

As reported by the UNWTO, only $5 dollars from every $100 spent by travelers in visiting countries, stays in the countries. How can we as travelers not only reduce waste and minimize our carbon footprint, but also ensure that our travels create a positive impact in the communities and environments of which we visit? 

Additionally, one of the most immediate, actionable items we all can do is to reduce or eliminate our meat intake by moving to a plant-based diet. Switching to a plant-based diet can help fight climate change, UN experts have said, as reported on BBC.


How to Help Australia Animal Victims NOW:

Here’s a list of animal-based charities that are helping to rescue and rehabilitate animals impacted by the fires.


Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park

Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park:

This wildlife park in South Australia is raising money for koala veterinary costs, koala milk and supplements, and extra holding and rehabilitation enclosures. The park has also taken in kangaroos, wallabies, an eagle, and a possum. A GoFundMe page organized by park owner Dana Mitchell has raised more than $800,000. 

Donate Here 

World Wildlife Fund Australia:

This chapter of the international wildlife conservation organization is accepting donations to care for injured wildlife and, when the fires clear, to plant 10,000 native trees in critical koala habitat, including in "koala triangle," the heartland of Australia's healthiest wild koala populations.

Donate Here 

World Wildlife Fund Australia

Animal Rescue Craft Guild

Animal Rescue Craft Guild:

This volunteer-run group with participants worldwide is knitting and crocheting protective pouches and blankets for animals displaced by the fires. One organizer told Reuters that the group has supplied thousands of rescue groups around the country.

Check out the group's Facebook page Here

Australian Koala Foundation:

This foundation allows you to "adopt" a koala through a symbolic foster program; your monthly fee funds protection efforts for wild koalas. You can also pay to "plant a tree" to help restore koala habitat. The foundation is also asking that Koala lovers to write letters to politicians in support of the Koala Protection Act.

Donate Here



The New South Wales-based Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc., Australia's largest wildlife rescue organization, is accepting donations to fund the rescue and care of animals affected by the fires. In December, WIRES received more than 20,000 calls and volunteers attended more than 3,300 rescues, according to the organization's website. All animal rescuers are volunteers.

Donate Here

Australian Koala Foundation

Koala Hospital Port Macquarie

Koala Hospital Port Macquarie:

This koala hospital in New South Wales is accepting donations to fund the rescue, treatment and release of koalas, as well as research and education about koalas. The hospital said Sunday that it is "inundated with supplies to treat burnt koalas" and is now sending boxes of veterinary supplies to the state's south coast, according to the hospital's Facebook page.

Donate Here

Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital:

Bindi Irwin, the daughter of famed wildlife conservationist and "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, has been taking in many displaced animals at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, which is owned by her mother, Terri. The Queensland hospital is "busier than ever," Irwin said in an Instagram post. The zoo's Wildlife Warriors program is raising money for new enclosures to house flying foxes and koalas injured or displaced by fires.

Donate Here

Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital

Wildlife Victoria:

A nonprofit that provides wildlife emergency response services, Wildlife Victoria is accepting donations to distribute to wildlife shelters to help rebuild enclosures and equipment, the organization says on its website.

Donate Here

RSPCA Australia:

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Australia, the nation's leading animal welfare charity, is accepting donations to fund the rescue and treatment of animals affected by the fires. RSPCA chapters in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia are accepting donations.

Donate Here

RSPCA Australia

If you'd like to focus on the first responders or people who have been harmed by the blazes, here are just a few of the many groups helping them.

Salvation Army

Salvation Army:

Australia's Salvation Army is providing meals and support to evacuees and first responders. 

Donate Here

Australian Red Cross: 

The Red Cross is supporting thousands of people in evacuation centers and recovery programs across the country. 

Donate Here

Australian Red Cross

St. Vincent de Paul Society:

This organization is providing food, clothing and household items for those who have been evacuated from their homes. They are also helping to pay bills and other expenses. 

Donate Here

NSW Rural Fire Service:

Donations directly benefit firefighters in New South Wales who are battling blazes. 

Donate Here

NSW Rural Fire Service




Lastly, when you book Kind Hotels with Kind Traveler, a $10 donation to either American Red Cross or The Salvation Army (or a favorite charity of choice on Kind Traveler) will unlock exclusive hotel rates and perks with Kind Hotels. 100% of donations go to charity. When you give to American Red Cross or The Salvation Army, you can support relief efforts in place for Australia’s wildfire victims.

Jessica Blotter is CEO and Co-Founder of Kind Traveler and a kindness curator that dreams of a world where people, animals, and the environment are treated with love. Follow her to discover where kindness can take you and insights on what it means to travel kindly.