Last but not least, the 16th Regiment Emergency Support Force have been helping Cleland Wildlife Park. In their spare time they feed baby koalas through syringes, help administer pain relief, build mounts in the park and assist weaker koalas with climbing trees. Prime Minister Scott Morrison called up 3,000 reserve soldiers to help with the firefighting and evacuation operations in Eastern Australia. We are all excited to hear that the horrible fires in Australia are being slowly but surely extinguished thanks to continuous rainfall. The struggle is nonetheless not over, as flooding is now a problem and everyone affected by the fires are misplaced and suffering. It’s therefore very comforting to learn about communities coming together and lending a hand.

Soldiers have been aiding animals and families by working with humanitarian aid and relief groups, as well as cleaning up debris in residential areas, hosting benefits and providing emotional support. Not only are people being proactive and making a tangible difference, but they are also providing the community with great morale boosts and inspiring more to join the cause. An estimated 1 billion animals died because of the fires and vast areas of land were destroyed, a severe ecological emergency overall. Captain Garnett Hall, an Australian Army Vet was recently deployed in Kangaroo Island, where he and members of the 9th Brigade were tasked to assist the Wildlife Park. Garnett Hall is the Director and Veterinarian at the West Coast Veterinary Hospital in Perth and he described how “Australia’s native animals, such as koalas, have suffered the most from the bushfires” because “when threatened, their instincts are to climb trees.” Those that survived sustain bad burns on their body, which is why volunteer efforts like that of the 16th Brigade are so important. Rehabilitation is probably one of the best ways to help restore Australia’s gorgeous natural wealth to what it once was. In order to do that teamwork is essential, and soldiers and students alike can make an impact.

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