Examining the impact of Australian bushfires

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An enormous bushfire has been raging in Australia for the last few months leaving more than 140,000 people displaced, millions of animals killed, and millions of acres of land destroyed.

This growing environmental disaster could ultimately have a global effect.

“There’s a lot of really important endemic species there which are animals that occur no where else in the world but there. From a completely humanitarian standpoint too though there’s been a number of deaths there, people are losing their homes, people are losing crops.” said Phil Colcough, Director of animal care, conservation and education at Zoo Knoxville.

For the animals that do survive, it will be extremely difficult for them to be released back into the wild, since there is no “wild” for them to be put back into. Experts are unsure if the country’s koala population will ever recover.

Even though Knoxville is a significant distance from Australia, for some, this tragedy hits close to home. Joe Wall currently lives in Knoxville, but lived in Australia for 11 years, serving as a wildlife volunteer for 5 years. He says this is a dire time for the animals of Australia.

“Animals are going extinct. In Australia they’re already talking about this perhaps being an extinction event, which is mind boggling. We’re talking about animals we’re never gonna see again.” Joe said.

If you would like to contribute to the efforts there, there are a number of places that are taking donations:

Click here to donate to a fund specifically set up for animals affected by bushfire

Click here to donate to the fire departments in Victoria, Australia

Click here to donate to families of firefighters who were killed during this tragedy.

Click here to donate to Wildlife Victoria, a non-profit that provides wildlife emergency response services.

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