DENVER (CBS4) – As activists and organizations across the globe work to address immediate needs in Australia, there’s new focus on the lasting effects on the area’s wildlife. Denver’s Morris Animal Foundation says they are setting aside $1 million to study the impact.
“We are talking about a billion animals that are affected by these wildfires,” said Tiffany Grunert, the foundation’s CEO. “We want to do what we can to restore what was lost and preserve what remains.”
Widely known for helping animals, the foundation will support research studies that take a closer look at the changes in habitat and health of more than 300 native species, including koalas on Kangaroo Island.
“80% of the population of koalas on the island has been killed. Now we only have 10,000 left.”
Dr. Wayne Broadman, a researcher with the University of Adeliade in Australia, is part of a newly-formed group of researchers brought together to relay where help is needed.
He says those koalas are the last large, healthy and isolated population.
“Our research in the future will continue to investigate the health status of this important population following the bush fires.”
For those from the foundation, it’s work that fits their mission and their passion for animals.
“These animals are so precious and there’s nothing else like them in the world,” Grunert said.
Grunert believes the research, while focused on Australia, will provide information useful after any wildfire including those in Colorado.