Jill Layton
Updated Jan 09, 2015 @ 1:48 pm

I hate to be the one to share sad news, but your help is needed! Get ready for emotions to happen and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So last week, raging wildfires blazed through Southern Australia, killing and injuring many animals, most notably a LOT of koalas. For a little background, koalas make their homes in the bushland, high up in eucalyptus trees — which is unfortunately exactly where the fires spread. Koalas are also pretty slow-moving, which means in times of a quick-moving blaze many koalas are lost — and those who do survive are left with some pretty serious injuries. Are you crying yet?

After last week’s fires Australians are being urged to donate or make mittens (out of 100% cotton) for koalas whose paws were burned. (You’re definitely crying now.) Animal organizations go into the burned areas to find hurt koalas which they then bring to treatment centers. The koalas paws are treated with burn cream, then wrapped up, and the final step is mittens which really help keep the paws all snug, and safe, and protected during the healing process. Eventually the koalas are sent back home to the wild.

The Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organization (AMWRRO) continues to rescue more and more koalas and are asking for monetary donations. If you want to help in a more hands-on way, The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is asking for people to sew mittens and has even provided a little pattern to make the perfect koala mitten (it’s very easy). You can make the mittens out of old sheets and towels, just be sure you’re using 100% cotton.

Josey Sharrad, an IFAW native wildlife campaigner, told the Guardian that they need a LOT of mittens. “Just like any burns victim, koalas’ dressings need changing daily, meaning a constant supply of mittens is needed by wildlife carers. Some burned koalas can take up to a year to fully recover.”

To put a face to all his koala sadness, here’s Jeremy, the first victim brought in for treatment. Jeremy has his mittens on and has already begun the healing process.

Let’s help these amazing little bears out and let’s get mitten making.

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