SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After announcing efforts to save Australia's koala population as hundreds of wildfires burn throughout the country, San Diego Zoo Global is dedicating more funds to the country's recovery.
On Sunday, Jan. 12, dollars from admission to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park will be matched and donated toward Australia's wildlife relief efforts.
“San Diego Zoo Global is a nonprofit wildlife conservation organization, so the money we raise at our parks every day goes back into our mission to save species,” said San Diego Zoo Global CEO Paul Baribault. “Sunday’s effort is not just about fundraising, but also gives our audience an additional opportunity to be included in the effort to save Australian wildlife.”
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The fundraising comes days after the zoo revealed efforts of San Diego Zoo Global-backed researchers working to save koalas on the ground. The organization is also accepting donations to support the recovery of koalas, platypuses, and other species here.
"We have been working in this area for many years now, tracking koalas to learn about them and to assess their population numbers," said Kellie Leigh, researcher with San Diego Zoo Global. "The population of koalas in the Blue Mountains have high levels of genetic diversity. This makes this particular population very important for the survival of the species."
It's estimated that more than 1 billion animals have died due to the wildfires. Across Australia, more than 120 wildfires have burned more than 15 million acres, killed at least 25 people and destroyed nearly 2,000 homes.