British racing star Lewis Hamilton has pledged $500k towards helping the animals, wildlife volunteers and rural fire services affected by the devasting bushfires which have claimed over 27 lives and the lives of an estimated 1 billion animals.
The Formula 1 world champion said in a tweet that he “can’t help but grieve for the defenceless animals thought to have died” in the savage fires which have consumed the country.
The fires have thus far burnt more than 6.3 million hectares of bush across the country and have also taken the lives of three brave volunteer firefighters.
Alongside a heart-wrenching video of a koala being rescued from a fire, the 35-year-old wrote:
“It saddens me deeply to know that over 1 billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault.
“My love of animals is no secret, and I can’t help but grieve for the defenceless animals thought to have died so far, pushing certain species closer to extinction.
“I’m lucky enough to visit Australia often, and I know first-hand how beautiful the country is. Keep fighting Australia.
“I’ve spent some time speaking to people in Australia who are working at the heart of this, and I’m filled with admiration for everything they are doing.
“I implore you to join me in thinking about the impact we are having on our planet. Let’s work together to make small changes, and encourage our family and friends to do the same, so we can help shift the direction we’re going in.”
Hamilton’s donation will go to WWF Australia, the Rural Fire Service and to WIRES Wildlife Rescue.
Over 1,300 houses in the state of New South Wales have been destroyed, and around five million hectares have been impacted by the fires which have been burning for months.
On Thursday, the state of Victoria announced a state of disaster with a warning that a ‘super fire’ could hit the area today.
Even though the fires have been raging since September, the south-eastern state is only now entering what is considered to be its worst fire months.
Renault’s Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo has used social media to urge people to donate and said his country was “suffering”.
Australian tennis players Nick Kyrgios and Ashleigh Barty are among many other sports stars, including Australia’s cricketers, who have also pledged money.
Rural volunteer firefighters Geoffrey Keaton, 32, and Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, from the Horsely Park rural fire service were tragically killed when a tree fell into the path of their fire engine, causing the vehicle to roll off the road.
The devastation caused by the fires is thought by many to have been accentuated by the current climate crises that are affecting many of the planets weather systems and which have brought unprecedented hot weather to the areas affected by the bush fires.
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