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Five Canadians headed to Australia to save animals

One of the volunteers is from the region - she joins the BC-based Brad Pattison rescue team
2020-01-07 Australia fire iStock
Hill with trees about to burn in red, orange wildfire. Photo/ iStock

A team of Canadians will depart next week for Australia, to begin what is sure to be an emotional journey over the coming weeks.

Heidi Bechtold, volunteer with the Brad Pattison Rescue Team, says the team has been mentally preparing for what they are about to face.

"At this point, with the traumatic devastation that the fires have done, some of these animals are completely helpless," says Bechtold.

"They need humans to come and help them and get them safely to vet care, put ointment on their burns, wrap their wounds and take care of them and treat them until they're ready to be rehabilitated and put back into the wild."

Bechtold says because the time change between Canada and Australia is so drastic, they don't want to miss a beat.

"So we're going to be doing night rescues, where we'll have night vision and we'll be able to go out into the already burnt down forest and search for animals who are stranded, can't get out or are terrified with fear and pain, and need to be rescued from trees, who have burns or other injuries," she says.

The group has been incredibly busy preparing for their trip since deciding to go only a few short days ago.

And although Bechtold says the situation hasn't quite sunk in yet, she is extremely eager to get there and help.

"I'm just ready," she said, "I'm ready to go and do my part and give back and save some animals. Even if it's just one or 100 or however many we can, that's going to be tough too."

"But we're preparing mentally and working together with our team, open communication, preparing ourselves for whatever we need, lots of research."

The team will be working closely with the Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary, to save not only koalas, but any animal in need.

If you wish to contribute directly to the group's search and rescue efforts, a Facebook page accepting donations has been setup.




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