Australian bush fires – how to help the animals

As you’ll be seeing in the media, the Australian bush fires continue to burn. So far, more than 8.5 million hectares of Australian land has been burned. At least 23 people have died and over 2000 homes lost. Almost four million hectares have already burnt in New South Wales alone. An estimated half billion animals have been killed just in New South Wales. This includes koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, kookaburras, cockatoos and honeyeaters. Many thousands more animals are injured and homeless.

If you want to help, see the information below on organisations currently helping Australian animals - who are also asking for donations to help their relief efforts.

Organisations accepting donations prefer cash, rather than materials/things. This is because of logistical challenges and the cost of sending large volumes of supplies to Australia.

This list is not an endorsement. We do, however, want to provide information to the best of our ability on how to help the animals who are suffering.

AVA Veterinary Benevolent Fund

We have contacted our counterparts in Australia ― the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) ― to ask how New Zealand veterinarians can help. Watch this video by Australian veterinarian, Dr Kate Toyer to see what veterinarians on the front line of the bush fires are experiencing.

The AVA advise anyone can donate to the AVA Benevolent Fund, which helps the Australian veterinarians who are providing essential services to animals affected by the bush fires. The fund is being used to help AVA members financially impacted by the fires ― and members doing pro-bono work in the bush fire response.

You can donate here. Select 'Donation - Benevolent Fund' from the list.

Volunteering opportunity through the AVERT program for veterinarians/veterinary nurses

Veterinarians and veterinary nurses volunteering their time and skills to care for animals affected by the bushfires can apply through the AVERT programme, operated by Vets Beyond Borders.

Veterinarians based outside of Australia, who are eligible for full or specialist registration in NSW must apply for registration in NSW to provide veterinary services in NSW. The AVERT Board will waive the registration fee for any veterinarians wishing to provide veterinary services for up to one month in NSW as a volunteer. The registration application fee ($140) still applies (unless this is a restoration to the register) and the veterinarian must volunteer their services through the AVERT programme.

New Zealand based veterinarians who volunteer for this cause should also talk to their insurer before they go to Australia to volunteer, as volunteering offshore is likely to fall outside their general policy conditions. While AVERT are expected to extend their insurance cover to include volunteer veterinarians, VPIS is also working with their reinsurers to provide support to members who are volunteering in the bush fires relief effort.

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

You can donate to the GoFundMe campaign run by the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, which is helping rescue koalas affected by the fires.

WIRES (Wildlife Information Rescue Education Services) emergency fundraiser

WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service) is Australia's largest wildlife rescue organisation. You can help WIRES rescue sick, injured and orphaned wildlife by supporting the WIRES Emergency Fund.

WWF Australia

Help WWF-Australia get emergency funds to care for injured wildlife, and when the fires clear, help restore the forest homes koalas and other animals. Donate here.

Zoos Victoria

Zoos Victoria is assisting in all aspects of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, including raising much-needed emergency funds. They have set up a dedicated Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund for tax-deductible donations. Donate here.

Every donation funds:

  • Emergency veterinary care
  • Scientific intervention (such as exploring supplementary feeding for the animals who have survived, but whose habitats have been destroyed by the bushfires).

Vets for Compassion

You can donate to Vets for Compassion, a group of veterinarians helping wildlife affected by the fires. Donations go towards medication and rescue efforts for wildlife.


HUHA NZ need cash donations - and a volunteer plumber or builder - to help their efforts to rehabilitate Australian wildlife affected by the bush fires. You can donate $3 by texting "huha" to 4463. 

Or for larger amounts, donate to the bank account:

HUHA (Helping You Help Animals) Charitable Trust

ANZ 06 0529 0764879 00

(Please email at for a tax receipt).