Image: © Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images.
Australia's shocking bushfire season has seen an estimated 10 million hectares of bush, forest and parks devastated, human lives lost and entire species threatened. While volunteer fire fighters battle the fires and community charities work to support people who have lost their homes, wildlife rescue centres have been overwhelmed by animal casualties and orphans. To help, crafters have been making specialist items, including the pouches needed by Australia’s young marsupials to survive.
The Australia-based Animal Rescue Craft Guild has created patterns for these items, which in addition to pouches for possums, koalas, wombats, kangaroos and bats also includes mittens for koalas. Originally the group, active in several Australian states, had 1,200 members, but after putting out a call for supplies on Facebook, has gained more than 150,000 supporters from across the world, including a knitting group in Iceland.
Sarah Rollings, one of the members who manages the group, told the Metro in the UK that they’re overwhelmed by the support; “We are very humbled by the amount of people willing to help us. It’s a level of support we never imagined, back in October when there were 1,200 of us crafting away.”
Image credit: Heather McMurray.
A few days ago, the group posted asking people to pause donations while they stocktake, distribute items to their list of rescue requests and reorganise what they need. Any crafters interested in helping should check their Facebook page to see what’s needed, where you can also find patterns and information on other ways to donate.
Not all fabrics or techniques are suitable so to make sure that handmade donations are useful, Meredith Ryan of FAWNA NSA (or For Australian Wildlife Needing Aid in New South Wales) told PBS; “The best outcome is to ask first and use only approved designs. There is an awful lot of waste because bad or unwanted patterns are out there on the internet. I could cry sometimes when we receive things made with love but not usable because of sewing method or fabric or size.”
The Guardian offers a list of other ways to donate here.