Canada N.S. woman persuades Air Canada to send supplies to help injured Australian wildlife

17:00  17 january  2020
17:00  17 january  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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Kangaroo Island in South Australia has been likened to a Noah' s Ark for its unique ecology. But after fierce bushfires tore through the island this week, there are fears it may never fully recover. With masks to help keep out the stench, they silently move the charred carcasses into piles - which are

As the charred remains of bushland from Melbourne to Sydney flashed outside the train window, Brianna MacDonald became determined to help the injured wildlife she could barely see in the smoke.

It's been less than two weeks since that journey. But the Nova Scotia woman has successfully lobbied Air Canada to send six cargo shipments to Australia that will include medical supplies and handcrafted goods made across Canada.

While the story of the 10,000-strong Canadian Animal Rescue Craft Guild has made headlines this week, their efforts were hampered by shipping costs.

"A lot of people knew someone who was travelling to Australia and they were planning to put their donations in that person's luggage," MacDonald said.

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A range of organisations are asking for financial aid to assist people, communities and wildlife affected by the fires.

Wildlife . © Wayne Lawler/AWC. Most of Australia ’ s wildlife is found nowhere else in the world, making its conservation even more important – 87 per cent of our mammal species, 93 per cent of reptiles, 94 per cent of frogs and 45 per cent of our bird species are found only in Australia .

"But that wasn't fast enough to meet the demand and it was also hard to get the incoming supplies to where they were most needed."

That's where MacDonald's mother, Cathy, came in.

Her garage in Bedford is filled with boxes of veterinary supplies, crocheted nests and sewn slings for injured and displaced bats.

Her daughter, meanwhile, has met with wildlife groups and humanitarian agencies near where she now lives in Cronulla, Australia, to co-ordinate the distribution on the ground.

Although MacDonald had initially just requested that Air Canada fly out a shipment from Halifax, the airline agreed to send out five other shipments, according to an Air Canada spokesperson.

The first cargo plane will leave Halifax today. It will be filled with goods sent from all over the Maritimes and Newfoundland.

Canadians get busy making pouches, nests, wraps for Australian wildlife hurt by fires

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Cargo planes will also leave from Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver in the next few days.

a woman standing in front of a store: Cathy MacDonald's home in Bedford, N.S., has become ground zero for knitted goods and donations across Atlantic Canada.© Carsten Knox/CBC Cathy MacDonald's home in Bedford, N.S., has become ground zero for knitted goods and donations across Atlantic Canada.

Lauren McCann helped collect knitted goods and donations in the Amherst area, putting down her thrummed mittens to crochet nests instead. Her colleagues at Oxford Frozen Foods donated funds so she could buy wool and material after seeing her work in the lunchroom.

She knows that other people will continue to drop off other handcrafted goods after the plane flies out so she's planning to use the last of those donations to send a shipment to Australia later in the month.

"If you've already started making that pouch and it's not done, don't worry about it," McCann said. "This is just the beginning of the burn season."

MacDonald said the level of generosity from fellow Canadians like McCann has overwhelmed her.

"Not everyone is capable of financially donating, which is 100 per cent fine, so they're finding what skills they can offer — and that is incredibly moving," she said. "A lot of them have never been here and they may never be here and they're just like, 'I will do whatever I can.'"

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