Look at these stuffed koalas that are popping up around New York City.
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Feeling incredibly grateful to develop and grow this campaign over the last few days. As an Australian based agency, we feel for the devastation happening back home. Never did we expect the response received from placing stuffed plush koala toys around New York City. Thank you @wireswildliferescue @jermcohen and all of those who shared, donated and reposted. 🇦🇺🙏🏼🐨
No, they’re not just a quirky “you see anything in New York!” reminder.
These bears come with great purpose.
An advertising agency is responsible for the stuffed animals, which are intended to draw attention to the bushfires still burning in Australia -- and hopefully, they’ll encourage passers-by to donate.
At last check, the unprecedentedly fierce fires in southeast Australia had claimed the lives of at least 28 people since September, destroyed more than 2,600 homes and razed more than 10.3 million hectares (25.5 million acres), mostly in New South Wales state. The area burned is larger than the U.S. state of Indiana, according to The Associated Press.
Here’s how the stuffed bear campaign works: The koalas have a QR code attached, which leads you to a GoFundMe page called Koalas of NYC.
The group says it plans to give all proceeds to WIRES, the Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service, which is Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization, according to WIRES’ website.
At first, the GoFundMe page aimed to raise $10,000 toward relief efforts.
That goal was met, and now, the new goal is $15,000.
Check out some of the cute bears around town:
Tens of thousands of real koalas are feared dead in the fires.
In an Associated Press report from late December, the AP said the mid-northern coast of New South Wales was home to up to 28,000 koalas, but the wildfires have significantly reduced their population.
Koalas are native to Australia and are one of the country’s most beloved animals, but they’ve been under threat due to a loss of habitat.
“Up to 30% of their habitat has been destroyed,” Australia’s environment minister, Sussan Ley, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “We’ll know more when the fires are calmed down and a proper assessment can be made.”
The stuffed animals are tagged with notes that read, in some cases, “1 billion of the world’s unique wildlife has died in the Australian bushfires.”
Click or tap here to learn more about WIRES, or give to the organization.
h/t Scary Mommy