The family of the late Steve Irwin is continuing his legacy of saving wildlife by rescuing 90,000 animals, including those that have been victimized by the ongoing bushfires in Australia.
Terri Irwin, Steve’s widow, together with their children, Robert and Bindi, own and run the Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital. Over the last 16 years, the facility has been saving wildlife and providing them with 24/7 rehabilitation.
Patient number 90,000 at the hospital was an orphaned platypus, according to Robert’s Instagram post on Thursday. They named him “Ollie”, and he is receiving constant care until he is ready to be released back to his natural habitat.
Bindi also posted an update on her Instagram about their situation amidst the raging inferno in Australia.
“With so many devastating fires within Australia, my heart breaks for the people and wildlife who have lost so much. I wanted to let you know that we are SAFE,” the 21-year-old environmental activist wrote.
The hospital has been “busier than ever” saving wildlife, and Bindi assures her followers that they are doing everything they can to save the lives of as many animals as they can.
The devastating wildfires have scorched over 12.35 million acres of land and, according to ecologists at the University of Sydney, it is believed to have killed nearly 500 million animals since September when Australia’s bushfire season began.
But the real number of animal casualties is likely to be much higher since the figure above only comprises mammals and does not include insects, bats, or frogs.
The region, known for its koala population, has lost up to 30% of its koalas in New South Wales in the deadly bushfires, according to Australia’s minister for the environment, Sussan Ley.
Firefighters from the United States have been brought to Australia to assist authorities in extinguishing the seemingly uncontrollable fires. One of those who volunteered is Steve Price, who has been fighting fires in the U.S. for thirty years now. He says that it’s “the biggest fire” he’s ever seen in his life. The Idaho native is part of the air operations rescue, and he says that it takes him 40 minutes to fly across just one of the scores of fires in a helicopter, showing just how massive the scope of the inferno is.
On January 5, 2020, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service posted an update on Twitter:
“At 10:30 pm there are 139 fires burning across the state, 69 are uncontained. 2 fires remain at Watch and Act. Firefighters, where possible will undertake backburning to strengthen containment lines overnight, pending forecast weather conditions.”
At least 24 people have died in the fires in New South Wales alone. More than 1,300 houses have been destroyed.
If you would like to join the Irwin family in their mission to save wildlife, you may contribute to this fundraiser that will help them build a new ward to accommodate the ever-growing number of patients in their hospital.