Created: January 11, 2020 06:16 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The Albuquerque BioPark Zoo is raising funds to help save wildlife affected by the Australian bushfires.
“In Australia, pretty much the whole continent is severely affected by these massive fires,” said BioPark Director Dr. Baird Fleming.
Fleming said the zoo is working on a new Australia exhibit, but they already have a host of animals native to the Australian continent.
“Right now we've got Tasmanian wombats, Tasmanian devils—we have a number of citizen species so like cockatoos, we've got lorikeets,” Dr. Fleming said. “In the future we're hoping to get, we will keep our kangaroos which is something that we have now, but we're also hoping to bring back our koalas, bring in echidnas, bring in some of these species that we haven't had for a while in or in some cases have never had.”
Dr. Fleming said the zoo’s nonprofit has already donated thousands of dollars to help the bushfire relief effort. Some experts think that anywhere between 20 and 100 different animal species have been wiped out.
“One thing that we're doing is we've contacted specialists in Australia that are really focused on a scientific approach to how they're going to be attacking this whole issue of wildfires, the effects that it has on the wildlife, so we've actually had our society, our nonprofit fundraising organization, they've just yesterday donated $20,000 to efforts to try and go helping the wildlife in Australia that's burnt—but not only that but the after effects,” Dr. Fleming said.
Long after the fires are put out, Fleming said the animals will continue to suffer.
“Anything that survives now is going to be easy prey for a lot of the feral cats, the foxes that were introduced there,” he said. “That's going to be devastating and on top of that, the famine and drought—they're going to be starving to death. They're going to be looking for water and not finding it, so we're trying to get people to jump on board, help us support Australia, help us support these efforts so there is wildlife in the future for us to go and enjoy.”
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