The Coast News Group
An estimated 1 billion animals have been killed as a result of ongoing Australian bushfires. File art

San Diego Zoo raises money for Australian wildlife relief

REGION — San Diego Zoo Global announced today it has raised more than $500,000 for Australian wildlife relief.

The price of every entry ticket to the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park that was sold on Jan. 12 was matched by San Diego Zoo Global, and additional on-site donations were made by guests, staff and volunteers to help animals affected by the devastating and ongoing fires in Australia.

It’s estimated that more than 1 billion animals have been killed.

“We are overwhelmed by the support that this initiative has received from our audiences, and inspired that so many people want to join us in saving Australian wildlife,” said Paul A. Baribault, president and CEO of San Diego Zoo Global.

“We know that there will be years of work to help ensure that species like koalas and platypuses can recover from the wildfires that have swept that country, and we are extremely grateful to all of the people who have joined us in our effort to help.”

The organization has worked with the Australian government and conservationists to learn about Australian wildlife since 1923.

San Diego Zoo Global officials are continuing to gather information regarding the scale and ultimate effects of the disaster, but noted recovery efforts may take years.

“It is hard to comprehend the magnitude of the disaster that has occurred, but we are committed for the long term in our support for Australian wildlife,’” said Shawn Dixon, chief operating officer of San Diego Zoo Global.

“We are inspired by all of our guests, members, donors, staff and volunteers who have contributed to help us provide for the immediate needs of researchers saving species in the field. The response has been tremendous, and is inspiring us to do more.”

The fires have been fueled by record-breaking high temperatures and severe drought. Nearly 18 million acres have been burned across Australia’s six states.

For more information on how to donate, visit

— City News Service