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Stuffed koalas are popping up around one major city for a cause that deserves our attention

Need a reminder to donate to the Australian wildfires? This should do the trick, if you live in NYC, that is

Belinda Battersby, Duncan McFetridge and Alex Tarasoc treat an injured koala at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Zoo on January 10, 2020 in Kangaroo Island, Australia. The town of Kingscote was cut off as the Country Fire Service continued to battle a number of out-of-control blazes.
Belinda Battersby, Duncan McFetridge and Alex Tarasoc treat an injured koala at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Zoo on January 10, 2020 in Kangaroo Island, Australia. The town of Kingscote was cut off as the Country Fire Service continued to battle a number of out-of-control blazes. (2020 Getty Images)

Look at these stuffed koalas that are popping up around New York City.

No, they’re not just a quirky “you see anything in New York!” reminder.

These bears come with great purpose.

An advertising agency is responsible for the stuffed animals, which are intended to draw attention to the bushfires still burning in Australia -- and hopefully, they’ll encourage passers-by to donate.

At last check, the unprecedentedly fierce fires in southeast Australia had claimed the lives of at least 28 people since September, destroyed more than 2,600 homes and razed more than 10.3 million hectares (25.5 million acres), mostly in New South Wales state. The area burned is larger than the U.S. state of Indiana, according to The Associated Press.

Here’s how the stuffed bear campaign works: The koalas have a QR code attached, which leads you to a GoFundMe page called Koalas of NYC.

The group says it plans to give all proceeds to WIRES, the Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service, which is Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization, according to WIRES’ website.

At first, the GoFundMe page aimed to raise $10,000 toward relief efforts.

That goal was met, and now, the new goal is $15,000.

Check out some of the cute bears around town:

Tens of thousands of real koalas are feared dead in the fires.

In an Associated Press report from late December, the AP said the mid-northern coast of New South Wales was home to up to 28,000 koalas, but the wildfires have significantly reduced their population.

Koalas are native to Australia and are one of the country’s most beloved animals, but they’ve been under threat due to a loss of habitat.

“Up to 30% of their habitat has been destroyed,” Australia’s environment minister, Sussan Ley, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “We’ll know more when the fires are calmed down and a proper assessment can be made.”

Volunteer wildlife carer Minka Macaule comforts an injured koala joey at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park in the Parndana region.
Volunteer wildlife carer Minka Macaule comforts an injured koala joey at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park in the Parndana region. (2020 Getty Images)

The stuffed animals are tagged with notes that read, in some cases, “1 billion of the world’s unique wildlife has died in the Australian bushfires.”

Click or tap here to learn more about WIRES, or give to the organization.


h/t Scary Mommy


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