UPDATED FOR 2020! Includes more than just mittens for koalas and pouches for kangaroos now too – wallabies, bats, wombats, and more are being helped with these amazing worldwide efforts!
You’ve probably seen the reports and heartbreaking photos circulating recently of the animals suffering burns from the Australian wildfires. You may have also seen the news coverage of crafters all over the world helping to make items needed to take proper care of these injured animals.
Here is the information about how you can get involved too! Of course, donations of money are always appreciated and can be used for whatever is currently needed, but according to those on the ground actually caring for these animals, they also need our time and skill to make these much-needed items.
The Animal Rescue Craft Guild along with many rescue groups work together, backed by a registered charity and 100% volunteer run. This group coordinates the making and supply of craft items that the animal rescues need. They are in close communication with the animal carers and all of their patterns are approved by those working directly with the injured animals.
Currently, they have plenty of koala mittens, but say that if you’ve already made some, your work is not wasted. When I first published this blog post, it was 2015. The call for these mittens has gone out several times since then. While it would be best to put your efforts into those items that are most desperately needed right now, if you’ve already made koala mittens, just hang onto them until they are needed again.
What else do they need besides the koala mittens? Well, one major need is for pouches for orphaned marsupials such as kangaroos and possums instead. The babies need to be kept warm and in a quiet pouch like environment – one they no longer have because their mothers have died in the fires.
Up to 6 pouches per animal can be used each day (even more when they are stressed!) and the pouches will continue to be useful even after the immediate issue of the fires is over. Unfortunately, many marsupials are injured in car accidents each year and these pouches can be used for this as well.
As you can see above, they also need nests for birds and rodents, bat wraps, animal beds, and more. There is a need for items that are sewn, knitted, crocheted, and even loom knitted so many different types of crafters can get involved.
So, exactly how can you get involved in helping these injured animals? Join the Animal Rescue Craft Guild on Facebook. As of this blog post being published, it has nearly 200,000 members and yet, there is still a huge need for these items! Once you join the group, be sure to read the announcement posts for the most up to date and reliable information (posted by admins who have direct knowledge).
Then in the files within the group, you will find every single approved pattern for making any of the above items. There are also instructions of how and where to send them so that your items can be used by the animals in need. You’ll also find a group of like-minded crafters and animal lovers who can share their experiences and can offer support to each other.
ATTENTION FELLOW LONDONERS: If you live in London, Ontario like I do, there is a local London Hub for creating these items. They have a local drop-off point where you can take your items and Air Canada has donated some freight shipping space to send them over to Australia. You can join the London ARC Hub here.
If you live in other areas of Canada, here is the Canadian ARC Guild Facebook group.
And American friends, you can join the American Rescue Crafters Facebook group here.