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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2009
3:33 PM

CONTACT: International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

Michael Booth (IFAW, Headquarters)
+1-508-744-2076
mbooth@ifaw.org

Imogen Scott (IFAW, Australia)
+61-2-9288 4993
iscott@ifaw.org

IFAW Helps Australia’s Wildfire Animal Victims

WHITTLESEA, Australia - February 11 - The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org ) has sent an Emergency Relief team to help wild and domestic animals affected by the devastating fires in Victoria, Australia.

The team, led by IFAW Emergency Responder, Tania Duratovic, arrived on the scene yesterday and has hit the ground running by helping local wildlife carers with search and rescue operations, providing treatment, food and vet supplies.

Working alongside local group Help for Wildlife, the IFAW team has already treated a variety of animals ranging from horses, dogs and goats to koalas, wallabies, a lyrebird and even a dingo.

"Thousands of wild and domestic animals have been killed or injured by the fires and heat. Our priority is to work with the local community, carers and vets to help rescue and treat as many survivors as possible and get them on what will be a long road to recovery," Ms Duratovic said.

"Some people only just managed to make it out with their beloved cats and dogs alive while others were forced to leave pets and livestock behind. For some people their animals are all they have left - rescuing and treating them will go some way towards helping these people find comfort after this disaster and get back on their feet," Ms Duratovic said.

One of the team members is IFAW volunteer, Dr Howard Ralph, who is a renowned vet, burns specialist and human doctor, and is already helping local vets to treat pets at the survivors' shelter in Whittlesea.

The key to rescuing as many animals as possible is for organizations and the local community to work together. IFAW is working alongside local wildlife groups such as Help for Wildlife and Wildlife Victoria and the RSPCA. As well as on the ground support IFAW has provided immediate assistance through emergency grants for carers to help them to operate in the disaster area, conduct search and rescue and coordinate food supplies for the animals that escaped the fires but are now without a food source.

The IFAW team in Whittlesea is also providing a valuable information service for emergency workers are also seeking advice on what to do if they come across injured animals.

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