Attendance this Sunday, Jan. 12 at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park will determine how much money will be contributed toward Australia’s wildlife relief efforts in connection with the country’s devastating wildfires, San Diego Zoo Global announced Friday.
Calling it an unprecedented move, zoo officials said they hope the one-day fundraising initiative will engage the public in what they believe will be a longstanding effort to recover wildlife populations in Australia. The zoo could not say how much money could potentially be raised but on a typical day, thousands of guests visit both facilities.
In addition to the Sunday donation effort, a research team backed by the zoo plans to head to the Blue Mountains in Australia to help save koalas threatened by the fires. San Diego Zoo Global also has launched a fundraising campaign on EndExtinction.org/help to support the recovery of koalas, platypuses and other species
Since the Australian fire season began in September, dozens of blazes have broken out, scorching more than 15 million acres. At least 27 people have died, and by some estimates, hundreds of millions of animals have perished or been affected.
“We have been devastated by the magnitude of the environmental crisis that is occurring in Australia,” said Bob Wiese, Ph.D., chief life sciences officer with San Diego Zoo Global. “We recognize that we will need to amplify our efforts and prepare for a long-term commitment in order to effectively recover the species that have been placed at risk.”
San Diego Zoo Global has been working in collaboration with government officials and conservationists in the field to learn about and conserve Australian wildlife since 1923.