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A group of Palmerston North retirees are uniting to knit shelters for animals injured in the Australian bush fires. Residents at Julia Wallace Retirement Village joined knitters around the world by creating for animals affected by the fires.
They crafted everything from pouches for joey kangaroos to mittens for koalas with burned paws, blankets, nests and sweaters. Residents received a call to action from Lorraine Mair, a Kiwi living in Melbourne, who explained what could be done to help the animals.
Harrowing scenes of kangaroos fleeing walls of fire, charred bodies of koalas and cockatoos falling dead out of trees have horrified the world as it tries to take in the scale of the unfolding disaster. Koalas have been among the hardest hit of Australia’s native animals because they are slow moving and only eat leaves from the eucalyptus tree, which are filled with oil, making them highly flammable.
The knitted shelters were vital for marsupials used to growing up inside a pouch, but who no longer had one. A Facebook group created in the aftermath of the fire asked those with appropriate skills to donate makeshift homes for the injured animals.
People from United States, Canada, Scotland, Asian and Europe responded. “They felt like they were helping and contributing.” The village’s manager, Christina Brenton, said: “It was wonderful to see the women inspired to help our Australian neighbours.” Sheets and fabric was donated by the Palmerston North Hospice. The group created more than 400 items, which were sent to Australia.
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