Crafting for a cause: Volunteers create koala mittens, joey pouches to help animals injured in Australian brushfires

Crafting for a cause: Volunteers create koala mittens, joey pouches to help animals injured in Australian brushfires
In this image made from video taken on Dec. 22, 2019, and provided by Oakbank Balhannah CFS, a koala drinks water from a bottle given by a firefighter in Cudlee Creek, South Australia. Volunteers are creating mittens for koalas and pouches for joeys injured in the brushfires. (Oakbank Balhannah CFS/AP)

From thousands of miles away, crafters are doing their part to help animals that have been burnt by the raging wildfires scorching the Australian bush.

The Animal Rescue Craft Guild put out requests for volunteers to make koala mittens, bat wraps, joey pouches, bird nets and possum boxes to help rehabilitate the animals that have been injured in the brushfires, Reuters reported.

So far 8 million hectares, or about the size of Austria, have burned on the island nation.

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Experts estimate that half a billion animals, both wild and domesticated pets and livestock have been killed in the fires, while there could be hundreds of thousands of animals injured and displaced.

The Animal Rescue Craft Guild was originally formed to help make dog and cat beds and coats a few months ago but quickly changed its focus when the fires started burning.

Members of the guild started making pouches for baby kangaroos who have lost their mothers, and mittens for koalas to protect burned paws.

Mittens are then filled with cooling ointment to treat the burnt paws, the CBC reported in November.

The group has received donations from the U.S., Britain, Hong Kong and Germany, Reuters reported.

For more on how you can help and to find patterns for the items the group needs most, visit the Animal Rescue Craft Guild’s Facebook page.