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Colorado Crafters Urged To Help Animals Injured In Australian Wildfires

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)- Those with a creative streak in Colorado are getting to work for a good cause, to help animals injured in the Australian wildfires. Videos of injured kangaroos to firefighters helping thirsty koalas, have caught the attention of people across the globe.

Bushfires Continue To Burn On Kangaroo Island As Army Reserve Arrives To Assist Clean Up Operations
KANGAROO ISLAND, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 08: Barb Copus holds a rescued baby brushtail possum at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park in the Parndana region on January 08, 2020 on Kangaroo Island, Australia. The Kangaroo Wildlife Park positioned on the edge of the fire zone has been treating and housing close to 30 koala's a day. Almost 100 army reservists have arrived in Kangaroo Island to assist with clean up operations following the catastrophic bushfire that killed two people and burned more than 155,000 hectares on Kangaroo Island on 4 January. At least 56 homes were also destroyed. Bushfires continue to burn on the island, with firefighters pushing to contain the blaze before forecast strong winds and rising temperatures return. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Now, there's a call for volunteers to help the animals and the rehabilitation centers taking them in.

AUSTRALIA-WEATHER-FIRES
Residents commute on a road through thick smoke from bushfires in Bemboka, in Australia's New South Wales state on January 5, 2020. - Australians on January 5 counted the cost from a day of catastrophic bushfires that caused "extensive damage" across swathes of the country and took the death toll from the long-running crisis to 24. (Photo by SAEED KHAN / AFP) (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

"I just want to help," explained Danielle Packer, a Lakewood resident. "They're actually just leaping into people's arms and wanting to escape the fire."

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The organizations in Australia are taking in so many animals in need, they're asking for crocheted or knitted items like pouches for joeys, nests for birds and mittens for koalas. Packer is doing what she can to help.

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"It kind of mimics the pouch they have with their mother," she said, as she showed the kangaroo pouch she's crocheting. "It will then be lined and a baby will nestle right in."

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The Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Lyons, knows the impact knitted items can have. They have volunteers in the community who create baskets to help rehabilitate birds.

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"We did see a big difference when we started using these crocheted nests in terms of how the animals were reacting and how they were growing and feeling," explained Chelsea Barrett with the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

Victorian Bushfire Coverage TBC
CANN RIVER, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 07: Burnt out forest is seen on January 07, 2020 in Cann River, Australia. Milder weather conditions have provided some relief for firefighters in Victoria as bushfires continue to burn across the East Gippsland area, as clean up operation and evacuations continue. Two people have been confirmed dead and four remain missing. More than 923,000 hectares have been burnt across Victoria, with hundreds of homes and properties destroyed. 14 people have died in the fires in NSW, Victoria and South Australia since New Year's Eve. The Federal Government announced the establishment of the National Bushfire Recovery Fund on Monday, with an initial $2billion to support rebuilding efforts after the devastating bushfires which have burned across Australia in recent months. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

The pouches and items our community is creating to send to Australia, will serve the same purpose.

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"It makes the animals in Australia feel safer at home and it contributes to their ability to grow because basically they are in an environment that is more natural to them," Barrett said.

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(credit: Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center)

LINK: Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

How to help

• Donate to WIRES, a wildlife rescue nonprofit that is rescuing and caring for thousands of sick, injured and orphaned native animals.
• Donate to the World Wildlife Fund Australia, which is directing its efforts towards koala conservation.
• Donate to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital's GoFundMe, which has rescued and treated dozens of koalas suffering from severe burns. The hospital is using donations to install automatic drinking stations in burnt areas to help wildlife searching for water and to establish a wild koala breeding program to ensure the survival of the species.
• Donate to the RSPCA New South Wales, which is helping evacuate, rescue and treat pets and wildlife in threatened areas.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com's Colorado Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile), the deadliest (Storm King) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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