With the help of animal rights group SAFE, Animal Evac New Zealand has deployed a team of volunteers from New Zealand to New South Wales.
This team will assist with both animals and communities affected by the Australian bush fires.
The specialist six-person disaster response team has experience in animal disaster management, international humanitarian aid, veterinary medicine, disaster victim identification, paramedicine, incident management, animal control, wildland firefighting, and technical animal rescue.
Animal Evac is New Zealand’s only dedicated animal disaster management charity.
SAFE CEO Debra Ashton says this is an extreme situation where specialised skills could really make a difference.
“It is hard to imagine the suffering of both people and animals so we are really happy to assist with Animal Evac’s response.”
Spokesperson Steve Glassey says this is the first time New Zealand has deployed an animal disaster response team overseas. He says the team will partner with local agencies to address animal response-specific needs.
“With over half a billion animals estimated to have died as a result of the fires, we have a moral responsibility to help where we can.
“We are grateful to SAFE for their financial support. As a new charity we don’t have the funds necessary for an overseas deployment, so SAFE’s sponsorship has made this possible.”
Animal Evac New Zealand is grateful to the Ministry of Primary Industries for their support and advice on deployment.