The Irwin Family Has Helped More Than 90,000 Animals During Bushfire Emergency | 22 Words

Australia is in the midst of one of the worst bushfire crises the world has seen. Since September, entire communities have been engulfed by relentless heat and fires. The flames are showing no signs of slowing down - which means only one thing... death tolls are rising.

However, there is one family, in particular, who are fighting to save as many animals as possible - The Irwins.

Continuing his legacy, the late Steve Irwin's wife and children have rescued a staggering number of animals during the last couple of months. Keep scrolling for the full story...

Australia is being ravished by one of the worst bush fire crises the world has seen in decades.

Due to soaring temperatures and one of the worst droughts in years, the relentless fires have been burning since September. We're currently in January. Just let that sink in.

New South Wales is suffering immensely at the moment.

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There have been fires reported in every state, but New South Wales is truly taking a beating by bush fires and is undoubtedly the hardest hit. According to CNN, so far, in New South Wales alone, more than 900 houses have been destroyed.

NSW declared a state of emergency last month.

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What does this mean? Well, it grants "extraordinary powers" to the NSWRFS commissioner, including the authority to allocate government resources and direct government agencies in taking action, according to CNN.

The raging fires have had a devastating impact...

The BBC reported that close to fifty bush fires continue to burn in populated coastal and inland regions to the city's north.

Seventeen people have been confirmed to have died in the fires since they started...

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Including several volunteer firefighters.

And it's not just the flames themselves that are having deadly consequences...

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Last month, the smoke was so bad in Sydney that air quality measured eleven times the "hazardous" level, CNN reports.

The Australian fire services have been stretched to their limits.

Firefighters all over the country have been tirelessly battling the formidable blazes and are struggling to contain them. Keep scrolling to see the heartbreaking pictures of the aftermath.

Australia has even been forced to make a global call for help...

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And it was Canada that was the first to respond and take action. The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, based in Winnipeg, answered the call for help after realizing the bush fire situation is expected to continue for many more weeks and gave up their Christmas to help fight the raging fires.

Other countries offered their assistance...

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Including the U.S. and New Zealand, who have sent in more firefighters to try and help tackles the blazes.

But even with assistance from overseas...

There seems to be no end to the blazes. In total, more than 5.9 million hectares (14.6 million acres) have been burned, CNN reports. And those who escaped the flames have lost their homes, with all their possessions perishing to the flames.

People have been desperately fleeing to beaches for cover.

And are left stranded awaiting evacuation. It's a truly heartbreaking sight.

How long could the fires actually be burning for?

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Sadly, Australia has only just entered summer, meaning temperatures could remain high for some weeks. In fact, temperatures usually reach their highest during January and February, so there may be no end in sight for months.

The fires have also had a devasting impact on wildlife.

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Several of Australia's native species have been affected including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, possums, wombats, and echidnas. Keep scrolling to see the latest snaps showing the true devastation the fires have had on the native wildlife.

And the latest statistics are some of the most alarming yet.

The country is totally unprepared for the devastation caused to its wildlife. Science for Wildlife executive director Dr Kellie Leigh told the New South Wales upper house inquiry: "We're getting a lot of lessons out of this and it's just showing how unprepared we are.
"There's no procedures or protocols in place - even wildlife carers don't have protocols for when they can go in after fire."

Koalas have been amongst the hardest hit.

It's believed that at least a third of Koalas in New South Wales alone have perished in the flames.

But what's even more concerning...

Tracy Burgess, a volunteer at Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services (WIRES), explained how concerning it was that rescuers were not receiving as many animal patients as they expected.
"We're not getting that many animals coming into care. So, our concern is that they don't come into care because they're not there anymore, basically," she told Reuters.

And that's not all...

It's feared that animals that managed to survive the flames will need huge amounts of humanitarian assistance to get populations anywhere near back to what they used to be.

Residents have even been trying to rescue helpless animals themselves.

And of course, we all remember Lewis the Koala who was heroically rescued by a woman using the clothes off her back.

A staggering number of animals have perished in the fires.

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And its only set to get worse. But the number that surfaced this week is utterly heartbreaking.

Nearly half a billion animals have died.

Ecologists from the University of Sydney have said that it's thought around 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have died since September.

It's a heartbreaking statistic.

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But, despite the devastating reality of what is happening to the country, not all hope is gone.

Australian communities have rallied together in a bid to save the country's struggling wildlife.

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But there is one family, in particular, who have gone to exceptional measures to help the animals, birds, and reptiles of Australia.

The Irwins have stepped in.

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The late wife and children of the Australian wildlife enthusiast, and overall legend, Steve Irwin.

Terri, Bindi, and Robert are just as passionate about the planet as Steve was.

And the family have dedicated their lives to continuing Steve's legacy after his untimely death in 2006.

The 3 of them work together to provide vital conservation for animals and the environment...

And have kept Steve's pride and joy, Australia Zoo, up and running successfully.

But, amid the horrific bushfires, people have been concerned about the safety of the zoo.

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Is Australia Zoo and it's thousands of inhabitants safe from the deadly blaze?

Bindi recently took to Instagram to reassure people about Australia Zoo's safety...

And gave a lengthy insight into the incredible work the Irwins and the rest of the Australia Zoo team have done amid the deadly bushfire crisis.

The zoo currently remains safe from the blaze.

Bindi wrote, "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. There are no fires near us @AustraliaZoo or our conservation properties."

And the number of animals treated at the Irwin's animal hospital is simply staggering.

"Our Wildlife Hospital is busier than ever though, having officially treated over 90,000 patients." 90,000 animals, birds, and reptiles. What an incredible accomplishment.

And Bindi has promised to continue fighting for the animals.

It's what Steve would have wanted. "My parents dedicated our Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to my beautiful grandmother." She wrote, "We will continue to honour her by being Wildlife Warriors and saving as many lives as we can." What an amazing family.