Fire brigade volunteers trying to tackle the fire in Kurrajong Heights, New South Wales. About a third of the bush in Kangaroo Island has been burned, setting back conservation efforts. (Ingleside Rural Fire Brigade/Associated Press)

Canadian animal rescue team set to head to Australia

A Canadian animal rescue team is heading to Australia next week to try to help creatures trapped and fleeing the wildfires in that country, joining other Canadians–mainly firefighters–who have been helping out since early December.

Estimates differ on how many animals have died in the fires, but estimates range from 480 million to a billion.

A rescued koala injured in a bushfire in Kangaroo Island, South Australia, is cared for at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. Devastating wildfires have threatened to wipe out some of the island’s unique fauna altogether. (Dana Mitchell/Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park/Associated Press)

The five-member Canadian team was formed by Brad Pattison of Kelowna, B.C. a dog trainer and the former host of the TV reality show “At the End of My Leash.”

Members of the team have been raising money for medical supplies, including ointment and bandages, and will work with Australian sanctuaries and rescue agencies.

The team, which includes volunteers from Calgary and Kitchener, Ont., had taken on similar duties before in New Orleans in 2005, in Haiti in 2010, and in Calgary in 2013.

The thought of suffering animals spurred Brad Pattison to organize a group of volunteers from across Canada to fly to Australia to help creatures trapped and fleeing from wildfires. Pattison has previously lead a team of animal rescuers to Haiti after the 2010 eathquake, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Calgary after the flood in 2013, among other places. (Courtesy: Brad Pattison)

Pattison told The Canadian Press he believes most of the animals he and his team will be attempting to help will be burn victims, presenting heart-wrenching choices.

“Does it need to be euthanized? Does it have a second chance at life? These are the questions and turmoil that we’ll be going through?”

The Canadian team will go first to the Melbourne area to work with some local organizations and sanctuaries to try to help dehydrated and injured animals, hoping to also provide something of a very brief breather for those already at the front lines.

This ringtail possum was found hiding in a house. (Tracy Burgess/Australia Wildlife Rescue Organization)

“My team is going down to help retrieve animals that will need help being rescued physically, but also there is also a lot of work that needs to be done in these sanctuaries and rescue organizations because they’re just trapped, the people are exhausted,” Pattison told CBC News’ Brady Strachan.

“I just feel that as a Canadian, we have this freedom and with my occupation, I have the knowledge and expertise in certain crisis situations that my team is able to bring help.” Pattison told Strachan.

“Emotionally, it’s going to be difficult on my team. It’s going to be horrible. Those atrocities are real.”

One of the key tools in the team’s fight is tree climbing equipment.

The B.C. team will work with local Australian organizations already depleted of medical supplies and energy. Here, a volunteer from Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services (WIRES) holds a kangaroo with burnt feet pads after being rescued from bushfires in Australia’s Blue Mountains area, on December 30. (Jill Gralow/Reuters)

“The purpose for that is it’s retrieving animals that are burnt, but they’re frozen. They’re frozen in pain and that pain doesn’t allow them to be mobile enough to get down to ground. So we’re taking our tree climbing equipment to retrieve animals from higher heights that a ladder will not be able to reach,” Pattison says

The team plans to be in Australia for four weeks, but Pattison says that could change.

“The extinction of animals that we’re facing from these wildfires is mind-boggling,” team member Kelli Boogemans, told Canadian Press.

“That’s why we’re going.”

With files from CBC (Dominika Lirette, Brady Strachan) CP

Categories: Environment, International, Society
Tags: , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


2 comments on “Canadian animal rescue team set to head to Australia
  1. Avatar Jennifer says:

    I would like to volunteer for the rescue operation. Where can I find out more on volunteering?

  2. Avatar Pina says:

    I am interested in becoming a volunteer. I have not gotten any information in regards to Ottawa dwellers going to Australia. Is there someone I can contact? I would take the internship course. Just WHERE?
    Thank you,