The volunteers knitting pouches, mittens for Australia's burned koalas

Volunteers make fabric pouches to replace the marsupial pouches; photos shared by members of the Facebook group "Animal Rescue Craft Guild".
Volunteers make fabric pouches to replace the marsupial pouches; photos shared by members of the Facebook group "Animal Rescue Craft Guild".

At least 1.25 billion animals – even more if you include microscopic species have died in the wildfires that have raged across Australia since September, destroying over 30,000 square miles of forest and bush. Volunteers all over the world have mobilised to help wildlife sanctuaries deal with the crisis, arming themselves with sewing machines and knitting needles.

The Facebook group Animal Rescue Craft Guild, which has more than 190,000 members, asked volunteers to make little cloth pouches for baby marsupials, including koalas, kangaroos, opossums and wombats, who can’t shelter in their mother’s pouches. They also asked for people to make mittens to help heal koalas’ burned paws.

“I wanted to do something after I saw the images of animals with burns”

Gwladys Nicol, who works in education in Paris, leads a small group of volunteers who are making pouches and nests for animals displaced by Australia’s fires.

It was horrendous to see all of the awful photos of animals with burns. I wanted to do something. I saw posts on social media asking for people to make things for the animals. I liked that idea more than just making a donation.

>> READ ON THE OBSERVERS: Rescued koalas and kangaroos: five fake images from Australia's fires

I thought of lots of friends who like to sew. As it's difficult to organise several thousand people, I created a small group to share information and coordinate what we were making. I shared the patterns for the pouches in the group. The inside of the pouches need to be made out of natural materials, like cotton, linen or silk, and you need to make several rows of stitches so that they can withstand the animals’ claws.

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????WILDLIFE WISHLIST???? ????WOMBAROO KANGAROO 0.7 ????ANY OTHER WOMBAROO FORMULAS ????HARTMANNS FLUIDS ????BAXTER FLUIDS ????LECTADE ORAL HYDRATION ????TISSUES ????FRUIT BABY FOOD SQUEEZE PACKS ????VETAFARM SPARK FLUIDS ????WOMBAROO IMPACT ????WILD BIRD SEED ????MACROPOD PELLETS ????VET WRAP BANDAGES ????FUEL CARDS ????F10 VETERINARY DISINFECTANT ????DI-VETALACT ????FLAMAZINE ????VITAMIN E OIL ????PUPPY PADS ????VETAFARM CRITTA CARE ????ANIMAL WOUND GELS & SPRAYS ????NUTRIGEL ????ANY VETAFARM BIRD PRODUCTS ????FEEDING BOTTLES & TEATS You can order products online from our friends at Vets n Pet Direct (or even better email us a voucher from these guys so we can buy what we need or pass them on to carers) Vet Products Direct, Vet Shed or Australian Wildlife Supplies and have them sent (or dropped off to) to our HQ: Email vouchers to: Nicole Blums C/ The Rescue Collective 4/55 Tenby Street Mount Gravatt, 4122 Okay to leave at door ???? REOPENED DROP OFF LOCATIONS: ????MOUNT GRAVATT 4/55 Tenby Street Mount Gravatt Please leave at the front door to the left of the plant pot. Contactable on: 0424450495 ????ALDERLEY Unit 1 / 9 Huddart Street Alderley (Not Unit 4 that was the address for the previous run) Please leave inside the fence to the left, it will be safe there. ????REDBANK PLAINS 3 Kanangra Street REDBANK Plains Please leave safely under the big carport ????DAKABIN 3 Tahr Place Dakabin. If no one is home please leave the donations at the front door ????LAWNTON 10 Riverbend court Lawnton Please leave at the front door. If there is a car there please knock. ????TARRAGINDI 7 Bourrelet Street Tarragindi. It’s the house with the big trees and wood fence .Please open the gate and pop just inside to the right. ????ALEXANDRA HILLS 1 Babiana Street Alexandra Hills Please leave at the door, Mel is never far from home. ????EVERTON PARK 2/160 Old Northern Rd Everton Park Second last unit on the left. If not home you are welcome please leave at the door, they are never far away. ????EUMUNDI- SUNSHINE COAST Att: Rachel Sharples C/ Eumundi Bakehouse 89 Memorial drive (open 5am-4pm) Contactable on: 0487347388 ????COFFS HARBOUR- NSW This is a stor

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I’ve already sewn several pouches. Other members of the group have knitted baskets with handles for transporting animals. Others have made little nests for birds whose habitats were destroyed by the fires. For now, we haven’t set any targets, I just told myself that I would make as much as I could with the fabric that I have.

Kangaroo pouches and a wool basket for transporting the animals. Credit : Gwladys Nicol.


We haven’t decided yet how we are going to send our creations to Australia. Carcassonne Park in Australia wants to set up a hub where all of the homemade items can be sent. However, we also made direct contact with an organisation in Australia that would allow us to see how our creations are being used. However, it is very expensive to send the items.

Article written by Pierre Hamdi (@PierreHamdi)