Easterseals Arc’s Transitions program and Projects Drive Group teamed up recently to help animals hurt or orphaned in the recent wildfires in Australia.
They sewed more than 40 pouch-like bags for young kangaroos – called “joeys”– to comfort the animals. Joeys don’t leave their mothers’ pouches for months after they are born. Once they are old enough to venture out of their pouches, the joeys return frequently, especially after they are startled or frightened.
Staff member Danielle Jones used the term “night hammock bags” for the substitute pouches. Jones coordinated the work of those involved to cut, sew and ship the bags.
They produced a total of 43 bags, but Jones found that shipping them is costly. She mailed 28 of them to Australia in one large package at a cost of $109. She is now looking for U.S. zoos that can use the remaining 15 human-made pouches.
The idea of making the night hammock bags hatched after another staff member, discussing the massive wildfires in Australia, said maybe individuals in Transitions could send cards to people who live in Australia and had been affected by the fires. Jones looked around online and discovered that volunteers were making these hammock bags to help animals affected by the fires that engulfed a vast area of Australia. The bags are for “all the animals displaced and healing because of the fire,” she said.
The bag-production team in Transitions and PDG made two sizes of these night hammocks. The larger size took about a yard-and-a-half of fabric, Jones said.
Since last summer, wildfires in Australia have burned an area larger than the state of Indiana. Thirty-three people have died, according to the BBC. Wildlife experts at the University of Sydney estimate that more than a billion animals died in the fires.