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No End in Sight for Australia Fires: Here’s How You Can Help Evacuees, Firefighters and Wildlife

Hundreds of fires across Australia may continue to burn for “months” to come. Here’s how you can help!

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(TMU) — As the unprecedented wave of bushfires continue to lay waste to Australia, people across the world have looked in horror as the devastation shows no sign of slowing down.

Over 200 fires continue to burn across the country, with upwards of 12.35 million acres being devastated in the blaze. Some 1,500 homes have been lost since the crisis began in September, while at least 24 people have been killed and dozens remain missing.

Indeed, the past weekend saw a horrible escalation of the months-long crisis, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned on Sunday that the fires may burn for “months to go.” Military reservists have been called up by the thousands to assist in firefighting efforts.

Tragically, over half a billion wild animals are believed to have been killed by the flames. Entire rare and endangered species may have been wiped out. Over 30,000 koalas are feared to have died in the fires, transforming the beloved national mascot into a symbol of a national and global tragedy. Experts fear that the loss of animals could exponentially increase once an accurate count is made.

On the political front, conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison has faced fierce criticism for his government’s seeming disregard for the climate crisis and inaction toward the bushfires. On Saturday, reports emerged of firefighters cursing the prime minister and saying that he should “get fucked” and resign.

In the meantime, concerned citizens across the globe have expressed their wish to help displaced evacuees, firefighters, and injured creatures in whatever way possible.

Here’s a few ways you can help.

Evacuees and Displaced People

  • The Australian Red Cross is supporting thousands of people spread out across evacuation and recovery centers across the country.
  • The St. Vincent de Paul Society is helping evacuated families recover from the fires by providing food, clothing, assistance with bills, and donating household items to those whose homes went up in flames.
  • Foodbank, the largest hunger-relief charity in Australia, is accepting donations of food, services, and funds.
  • Help Australia’s indigenous First Nations to rebuild through GoFundMe!
  • Givit is accepting donations of food, toiletries, and household items.

Firefighters

Wildlife

  • WIRES, a wildlife rescue nonprofit that is rescuing and caring for thousands of sick, injured, and orphaned native animals, is taking donations.
  • Donate to the World Wildlife Fund Australia, which has been devoting its efforts toward saving threatened koalas.
  • The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital‘s GoFundMe has been a major success, collecting millions of dollars to help rescue and treat dozens of koalas suffering severe burns. Donations toward the hospital will help set up a network of automatic drinking stations across burnt areas that will be crucial for wildlife to survive, and the hospital is also establishing a wild koala breeding program to ensure that the species can survive after the crisis.
  • The RSPCA New South Wales is helping to evacuate, rescue, and treat pets and wildlife in threatened areas.
  • A GoFundMe for the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park is hoping to help the remote island recover from devastating fires this past weekend that has potentially killed entire rare species. According to the park, donations will go towards veterinary costs, koala milk, supplements, extra holding/rehabilitation enclosures, as well as setting up a building to hold supplies to treat the animals.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years

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Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.

Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.

The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.

Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.

It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.

“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”

Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.

Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.

“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.

“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”

Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.

“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.

Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.

“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”

In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.

Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.

A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.

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