The bushfires out in Australia have been absolutely devastating, with some ecologists estimating that half a billion animals have been killed so far. Wildlife conservationists around the world have voiced both their heartbreak and their resolve to rescue as many animals as possible -- including the family of the late Steve Irwin.
Steve's son, 16-year-old Robert, looked visibly upset as he discussed the crisis with his mom, Terri, on a morning news segment with Sunrise Today.
"We're seeing all kinds of different injuries," he said of the dangers currently faced by wildlife. "Obviously smoke inhalation and burns are happening frequently, but also animals are going into areas where they're not supposed to be to escape the horrific conditions."
Terri also explained why Koalas, specifically, are in such peril.
"The consideration with koalas is that their instinct is to go up, safety is in the top of the tree, and with a hot fire, eucalyptus trees have so much oil in their leaves they actually ignite and explode. So being able to treat koalas is few and far between because they're basically incinerated, which is absolutely heartbreaking. But now is the time we need to look at more than just setting aside habitat. Koalas are classed as vulnerable and I think that after this event we need to really sit down and look at classing them as endangered..."
"It's definitely an ongoing issue and we're just trying to do our best to help in any way we can," Robert told news anchors. "But it's a pretty tough situation. We're absolutely heartbroken."
So far, Australia Zoo and its conservation properties are safe from harm, but the Irwins are asking for donations to help them continue to aid wildlife in the surrounding areas [who are coming to their hospital in droves].