The worst bushfire season Australia has seen in years is currently happening with the latest news advising that more than 10% of NSW National Parks has been burnt, including 20% of the Blue Mountains and the Gondwana Rainforest, a world heritage area. The total damage area across Australia is staggering…..with more to come.
In the Blue Mountains we are not strangers to bushfires, they are an environmental acceptance if you live in the area. Leading up to summer each household prepares for fire, with the hope this preparation will not be required. No degree of preparation can help when walls of fire are approaching. I know many who are volunteer Fire Fighters and hope they come home safely.
While the sky remains a eerie hue and we struggle to breathe in a smoke haze, we are fortunate as we can try to reduce our inhale of smoke remaining inside. Other animals who live outside do not have this privilege. Many can’t breathe and fires have rampaged through so fast there has been no option of escape. With millions of hectares of land burnt, the death toll climbs, many creatures have been orphaned, injured or left without homes.
The bushfire news has travelled worldwide and has a sparked a global crafting effort as thousands of volunteers unite to knit, crochet and sew shelters for animals affected by the crisis.
Young marsupials including possums, kangaroo’s, koalas, sugar gliders and wombats require pouches to grow. Without their mothers they rely on hand-stitched products from donors. Other animals such as flying foxes also require pouches (bat wraps) to help their recovery and rescuers say koalas need mittens for their burnt paws.
I am a member of a number of crafting groups on Facebook with volunteers hard at work. The main assistance group is the Animal Rescue Craft Guild who initially put out a call for these products. The Rescue Collective, based in Queensland, has partnered with the Guild to distribute donated items to independent animal carers across the country.
If you sew, crochet, knit or craft and are interested in donating to this worthwhile cause, there are easy to follow instructions to create the items required. Please follow the instructions rigorously as some materials and patterns are not appropriate for small animals.
Patterns and more information and how to get involved can be found at https://craftguild.org.au/ for Joey Pouches, Animal Beds, Hanging Bags, Microbat Pouches, Nests, Bat Wraps and Possum Pods.