MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison's zoo is hoping the community will step up to help animals in need across the world.
Experts estimate widespread bush fires have killed more than a billion animals in Australia in recent months, including at least a third of all koalas.
As more animals are rescued every day in need of care, organizations around the world are aiming to support the efforts to save them.
"Our community is really tuned in to animals. They obviously are animal lovers, which we appreciate, and making sure that we are responding and able to be a conduit for our community to help out animals across the world is something that's really important to us," said Jess Thompson, conservation education curator at Henry Vilas Zoo.
Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison has now launched a campaign to raise money to directly support wildlife recovery efforts in Australia. All money donated through the campaign will go to groups working to save and protect animals in Australia, according to the zoo.
"It's really heartbreaking, even all of the news coverage that we've seen right now is really hard to watch, so it's nice to know that there is something we can do and we can make a difference," Thompson said.
This is a partnership with the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund, put together by WIRES: NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc., Australia's largest wildlife rescue organization, and Zoos Victoria, a conservation organization.
The groups are sending out teams of veterinarians and rescue crews to areas hit by fire to find animals and save them.
Visitors to Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison can donate money at the gift shop and in the Glacier Grille. You can also donate online.
Plus, the zoo decided to send $1,000 brought in from membership fees at the start of the year to the fund. So far, the collection boxes are filling up and the online donations have reached about $500, according to zoo officials.
Donations put in the permanent boxes throughout the zoo grounds go directly to operations at Henry Vilas Zoo.