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- The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Australia is looking for volunteers to feed local wildlife injured by the bushfires on Kangaroo Island.
- Nearly half of the island, located in the country's south, was burned in bushfires earlier this month, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
- Up to 30,000 out of an estimated 60,000 koalas are believed to have been killed.
- The group warns that volunteers must be "able to cope with the distressing reality of severely burnt wildlife," and will cover all transport, food and accommodation costs.
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The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Australia is looking for volunteers who want a more hands-on approach to helping animals impacted by bushfires.
The South Australian branch of the animal welfare group has posted an application looking for people to feed and provide water to animals who survived the devastating fires on the popular Kangaroo Island earlier this month.
—RSPCA SouthAustralia (@rspcasa) January 24, 2020
Kangaroo Island, which is located off Australia's southern coast, is the country's third-largest island.
Nearly half of the island was burned in bushfires, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and up to 30,000 out of an estimated 60,000 koalas are believed to have been killed.
Now that the fires have been subdued, the island needs help caring for the animals, including its native koalas, wallabies, and possums.
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"With so much natural habitat and sources of food destroyed, macropods (kangaroos, wallabies, etc), possums and koalas that survived the bushfires now face starvation and dehydration," the RSPCA wrote in its posting of the volunteer opportunity.
"With help from volunteers, we will focus our efforts on these species, which have specific dietary needs and are least able to adapt to the changed landscape."
The group said it fears a "'second wave' animal welfare disaster" on the island, and is asking for "urgent action" to save the surviving native wildlife.
It also said it devised a three-month emergency plan for the island, and will coordinate efforts with nine volunteers made up of veterinarians and members of the public, as well as project manager.
The RSPCA also warned that volunteers must be "able to cope with the distressing reality of severely burnt wildlife – both deceased and alive," and be able to work a minimum of one seven-day roster.
Animal handling experience is desired, but not a requirement. Job duties include collecting eucalyptus leaves coordinating food drops on various parts of the island.
In exchange, the group says all transport, food and accommodation costs will be covered by donations made to RSPCA South Australia's Bushfire Appeal.
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The koala is currently listed as "vulnerable" by Australia's Environment Ministry, and experts at the Australian Koala Foundation announced in May that they believe no more than 80,000 koalas are left on the continent and are "functionally extinct."
Humane Society International team member Evan Quartermain told the ABC earlier this month the Kangaroo Island bushfires have been particularly devastating to the koala population.
"It's unbelievable out here — I can't even describe it, you can't walk 10 metres (10 yards) without there being another carcass," he said. "But you could walk for two or three kilometers and there's not a single gum leaf for these koalas to eat."
"It's extremely emotional," Quartermain said.
- Read more:
- Heartbreaking photos show koalas, kangaroos, and other animals being badly burned or left without homes because of Australia's bushfires
- Scientists say Australia's rare duck-billed platypuses are being pushed to 'the brink of extinction' — and deadly bushfires are making it worse
- Here's how much Australia's billionaires have donated to relief efforts for the wildfires that have destroyed 25 million acres of land and have killed at least 28 people
- Celebrities who donated their time and money to Australia fire relief efforts
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