The Unlimited Support for Australia from the Irwin Family to the Americans

Steve Irwin; Australian wildlife conservationist, environmentalist, and television personality. Having been passionate about wildlife since childhood, he grew up with the opportunity to study and care for the animals at his parents’ wildlife park, known today as the Australia Zoo. Irwin truly rose to fame as the host of the long-running television series, The Crocodile Hunter, which premiered in 1996. The show was a wildlife documentary, focusing on the real-life adventures of Irwin and his friends as they dealt with crocodiles and other dangerous animals. Following on from there, he branched out to other film and television projects, such as The Ten Deadliest Snakes in the World, as well as another documentary series, Croc Files. With his wife, he also took over in managing the Australia Zoo. 

Although Steve Irwin is no longer with us, his legacy lives on. His wife, Terri, and their two children, Bindi and Robert, are wildlife activists as well. Terri has continued to own and operate the Australia Zoo, while her children have helped out with the zoo’s Wildlife Hospital. For well over a decade, the hospital has provided 24/7 support for animals in need of health care. 

More recently, the Irwin family and the rest of the hospital staff have helped rescue numerous animals who have been affected by the devastating wildfires currently plaguing Australia. The grey-headed flying foxes are one amongst many examples. Being a species listed as vulnerable, many of the foxes were flown over to the hospital to give them sanctuary from the ever-raging fires. Just a week ago, the staff also treated their 90,000th animal patient, a platypus named Ollie, who will remain at the hospital until he is ready to be released back into the wild. 

While the people at the zoo and the hospital have been doing everything they can, others have been lending their support in different ways. 3,000 people from Australia’s army, navy, and air force have been deployed to help combat the inferno. Even now, there are still over 140 fires ongoing throughout the country. The wildfires have proved to be devasting for humans as well, and have forced thousands to flee from their homes. The fires started up in September of 2019, and sadly, they are predicted to last for another several months still. They have been filling the skies with dense smoke, burning millions of acres of land, and destroying hundreds upon hundreds of homes. 

American and Canadian firefighters landing in Sydney to help with Victorian bush-fire

But Australia is not alone in its struggle. The U.S. and Canada has been continuing to send over support to help combat the fires. Canada has sent over roughly 100 firefighters, and, just a couple weeks ago, the U.S. sent nearly two dozen personnel from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service. And this is along with the over 74 personnel that the U.S. already sent previously. However, the U.S. and Canada are dedicated to lending their support for as long as needed to help get the fires under control. 

Meanwhile, Terri Irwin has reported that the Australia Zoo and the animal hospital, situated along Sunshine Coast, are currently safe from all the fires. The hospital’s staff will remain hard at work tending to animals in need. 


Micah Lovegrove and His Family Saving Koalas

As Australia’s fires continue to burn and the military, firefighters, animal rescues, and first responders work tirelessly to control the flames, save the people and their wildlife; locals are also stepping up to assist when possible. One of the many honorable mentions is Micah Lovegrove and his family.

Lovegrove and his family have property on Kangaroo Island, where the wildfires have ravaged and destroyed the area where his uncle’s house once stood, in South Australia. As Lovegrove was observing the damaged property, he spotted a koala huddled beside a nearby tree.

He brought the koala into his car and couldn’t help but look for more distressed marsupials in the burned-out area. Lovegrove saved seven koalas that day and packed them all in his vehicle, which can be viewed on a YouTube video. In the video, Lovegrove is heard saying, “Just trying to collect as many live ones as we can,” as the camera depicts koalas sitting throughout his car.

Carload of koalas rescued from Australian wildfires.
Micah Lovegrove and his family rescued multiple koalas from wildfires on Kangaroo Island in Australia by , they loaded the animals into their car and brought them to safety.

“We’d move the car, go running again, and pick up some. Rinse and repeat. We grabbed one last guy who was super feisty, so we didn’t position him in the car. Well, he’s the one on the seat,” he said.

The koalas had been taken to Lovegrove’s neighbor, who has a permit to care for Australia’s wildlife. Unfortunately, during the drive to the neighbors, one marsupial passed away due to the injuries. The rest are currently under the neighbors care.

The fires are still raging, and approximately 400,000 acres of land on Kangaroo Island alone have been scorched, according to local news outlets. Wildfires have been burning since September 2019 and have been fueled by drought along with the country’s hottest and driest year on record. At least 25 people and an estimated billion animals have died. 

It is the kindness of strangers and those humans willing to put themselves in the heart of the danger to fight and protect their lands, people and animals are the unsung heroes, and we at Operation Earth salute them, and thank every one of them.