The koalas have a QR code attached so people can donate immediately
As we continue to read story after story about the heartbreaking devastation taking place in Australia and the almost one billion in wildlife lost as a result, people are stepping up in droves to do what they can to help. One advertising agency is getting creative, leaving stuffed koalas all around New York encouraging people to donate.
“Friday morning at the crack of dawn, the @cumminsandpartners__nyc team and I rented a van and drove all over NYC to place dozens of stuffed koala plush toys to poles and trees to help spread awareness about this tragedy,” freelance photographer Jeremy Cohen shared on Instagram. “Attached to the koalas is a QR code that directs passerbyers to the Koalas of NYC Gofundme page to spread awareness and raise money for @wireswildliferescue (Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service).”
According to the GoFundMe page, “The allocation of donations received by WIRES will be used to assist as many animals as possible across our nation – we can and will allocate funding and support to all states and territories where needed to assist animals affected by this crisis.”
Though the fire is devastating to almost all of Australia’s wildlife, the koala population has been dramatically impacted. According to NBC News, approximately 30,000 koalas have been killed as a result of the fires. Sam Mitchell, co-owner of the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, told The Guardian that koala numbers had been around 50,000, but “probably more than half” would have died in the fires. He noted it was “a guessing game.”
Many fear the population will be near extinction when the fires are over, which will likely have a major impact on travel and tourism, one of its largest industries. A recent study by The Australian Koala Foundation, The Economic Value of the Koala, found that koalas create over 30,000 jobs in the tourism industry. “Australia will be losing millions of dollars,” Deborah Tabart, Chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, which aims to conserve and manage koalas in the wild told ABC News. “Koalas bring in 3.2 billion per year from tourists hoping to see some. They are huge economic generators.”
As people continue to do what they can to raise money to help rehabilitate and care for the koalas that are being rescued, gestures like Cummings and Partners’ and Cohen’s are reminding people at a grassroots level just how much is at stake and that every dollar counts.
“There is an immediate need to locate, rescue and care for injured animals and while this will be a long process in itself, there is a much longer term focus needed on supporting animals affected by the loss of habitat, the shortage of food and depletion of their populations in the wild,” the GoFundMe page continued. “With the imminent risk to threatened species on the pathway to extinction as a result of the mass elimination of habitat, urgent action is needed.”