A call for hand-made articles for animal babies is a probably a first for Manitobans. A group from Virden is responding to the desperate plight of Australia’s wildlife. To answer the call, they have plans for a work bee.
As over a billion (estimated at 1.25 billion this week) animals are thought to be dead from the bush fires that have burned in Australia since September, many others are orphaned, injured and have lost their homes - mothers’ pouches for the marsupials unique to Australia, as well as nests.
The situation is so desperate for wildlife that, to help rescue efforts, the Australian government is spending $50 million. On Jan. 13, Australia announced the money as an initial investment to support the immediate work to protect wildlife, and work … to plan the longer-term protection and restoration effort.
Right now, the sick and injured animals have need of practical items.
Virden volunteers, headed by April Peers, are joining with a Winnipeg group to help provide the soft pouches and nests that rescued animals need.
Peers, hearing of the plight of animals fleeing the fires, was troubled. “All last week it was bothering me. What do you do?” she said.
She found the Winnipeg Animal Rescue Craft Group, and since then has made arrangements to join send what Virden creates and collects to the group. From Winnipeg, they will sent to the amazing people in Australia working tirelessly to help these animals.
Items can be dropped off at Arts Mosaic at the C.P.R. Historic Centre in Virden until Feb. 7.
Peers hopes local people will help with the crafting, following patterns that provide the details of just what the animals need. Pouches (for joeys), and nest liners for rodents, and birds are needed.
The liners are important. According to a news service, PBS NewsHour “Craftes United to help…” (www.pbs.org/) Dr. Leanne Wicker, a senior veterinarian at Zoos Victoria in Australia, in an email to PBS said, “The problem is that these are wild animals… hey have very sharp claws even as young, and these get caught up in knitted fibres.”
There will also be an afternoon gathering to prepare items. Christa Milne, the administrator there said, “We also have a work/crafting bee that we are hosting at the CPR Historic Centre, Jan. 26.”
Bat wraps, pouches for small and medium animals, hanging joey pouches and koala mittens. All of these should be made with a sewing machine to be strong enough.
Please use 100% natural fabrics like cotton and bamboo and linen. Fabrics can be second hand blankets, tote bags etc. but must be cleaned before being sewn. Koala mittens can be made in 100% cotton flannel.
Please note:Prior to drop off, all items MUST be animal hair free and washed in mild detergent and hot water.
Only use approved patterns found at www.wpganimalrescue.ca/, click on patterns.
Contact the Arts Mosaic office for more information.