Local experts explain how the Australian fires impact wildlife

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RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – With millions of acres burned, hundreds of fires are still occurring in Australia and billions of animals are affected.

A local firefighter from the Rio Grande Valley is in Australia fighting the fires. Local experts are telling Local 23 what contributed to the wildfires and how we can help the animals and people going through these devastating times.

Huge applause as firefighters from across the country arrived in Australia, including Reynaldo Navarro from Mission who is helping battle the fires.

These wildfires are being called one of the worst fires in modern history with millions of acres burned and the fires damaging or destroying nearly 3,000 homes.

Patrick Anderson from the RGV Sierra Club explains how the fires could have started and how we are contributing to the problem.

“Australia just experienced their driest year on record but that trend has been the past trend for the past decades. We’ve been contributing to that problem, us as Texans, we are among the highest emitters of carbon dioxides in the country and the United States the highest emitters of carbon dioxides,” said Patrick Anderson, chair of the RGV Sierra Club.

While the environmental impact is huge, there are also billions of animals that have been killed with many suffering burn injuries.

A local veterinarian at the Gladys Porter Zoo tells Local 23 how difficult it is to treat burn victims and the long-term care that is needed.

“Burns are difficult to heal in wild animals because they generally require a lot of care. It’s not just treat something put a Band-Aid on it and we’re good right, they need repeated care. The skin needs to be perhaps covered up. Maybe you need surgery. Maybe skin grafts, special projects, so there is, there’s a long term need for care,” said Thomas W. Demaar, Senior Veterinarian at Gladys Porter Zoo.

Sadly, doctors say the severe injuries will mean hundreds if not thousands of more animals will ultimately die.

Dr. Demaar says we will never really know the total impact the fires will have on the wildlife.

Many organizations are stepping up to raise money and a zoo in Australia has set up a brushfire emergency wildlife fund to help care for these animals.

To help the thousands of animals currently affected by the fires you can go to zoo.org.au/fire-fund to donate to their wildlife fund.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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