While Australia is currently battling the most devastating bushfires seen in decades, the Irwins have been working tirelessly, and heroically, to try and save as much of the native wildlife and bushland as they can.
A few days ago, the late Steve Irwin‘s wife, Terri, and their sixteen-year-old son, Robert, appeared on live TV to discuss the survival chances of their koalas, and Robert simply couldn’t hold back his emotion regarding the situation and began to tear up. And in honor of the family, an artist drew a picture showing Steve Irwin welcoming kangaroos, koalas, and other animals into heaven and it has gone viral.
Keep scrolling to catch a glimpse of the touching piece of work.
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.
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.
It’s reported that more than 2,200 houses have been destroyed.
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.
It is reported that 130 bush fires continue to burn in populated coastal and inland regions to the city’s north.
Including several volunteer firefighters.
Last month, the smoke was so bad in Sydney that air quality measured eleven times the “hazardous” level, CNN reports.
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.
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.
Including the U.S. and New Zealand, who have sent in more firefighters to try and help tackles the blazes.
There seems to be no end to the blazes.
In total, more than 10.7 million hectares (26 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.
And are left stranded awaiting evacuation. It’s a truly heartbreaking sight.
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.
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.
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.”
It’s believed that almost two-thirds of koalas in New South Wales alone have perished in the flames.
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.
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.
And of course, we all remember Lewis the koala who was heroically rescued by a woman using the clothes off her back. Literally.
And its only set to get worse. But the number that surfaced this week is utterly heartbreaking.
And the numbers keep on rising as long as the flames are burning.
But, despite the devastating reality of what is happening to the country, not all hope is gone.
But there is one family, in particular, who have gone to exceptional measures to help the animals, birds, and reptiles of Australia.
The late wife and children of the Australian wildlife enthusiast, and overall legend, Steve Irwin.
And the family have dedicated their lives to continuing Steve’s legacy after his untimely death in 2006.
And have kept Steve’s pride and joy, Australia Zoo, up and running successfully.
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.”
“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.
Sharnia-Mae Sturm is a twenty-two-year-old Australian artist who posted a cartoon piece to Instagram and it instantly went viral for it’s touching message.
Isn’t it just so heartwarming?
It is still an undeniably heartbreaking situation, but by working together to help the Aussies combat this natural disaster, we hopefully put it to an end.
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.