Bushfires have been raging across Australia for several months now and have razed an area approaching the size of the Republic of Ireland.
What’s even worse is that temperatures are expected to become even hotter and the weather conditions drier. This has made experts comment that the worst is likely yet to come.
But even more than the devastation to property, what’s even more heartbreaking is the loss of life among wildlife. Experts have estimated that as much as half a billion animals have already perished because of the blazes and some species might even have gone extinct. Worst-hit among wildlife are the koalas because when seeking shelter, they instinctively try to climb to high ground and this often traps them if the tree they’re on catches fire.
In the midst of all this heartbreak, the men and women of the various firefighting services have never wavered from the frontlines. Some have even already given up their lives in the process.
And to honor this poignant sacrifice, one street artist made a mural featuring a koala holding a hose and fighting the fires.
The painting was the work of artist Andrew Gibbons and it’s located on Melbourne’s Hosier Lane, well-known for its graffiti art.
Gibbons dedicated his artwork to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and even included the words “thank you RFS” on the top left corner.
He unveiled the mural on his Instagram account. As he was painting the mural, he also collected donations for the Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund.
Gibbons, from Melbourne, wrote: “We got together to paint and raise money for bush fire recovery here in Australia.
“The support was great and what cant be done alone, maybe we can get done together.
“Shout out to all the people facing the blaze and caring for the lives affected most Rural Fire Services in this instance was meant generally and not pertaining specifically to NSW registered firies.
“The money raised is all being passed on to the WWF wildlife recovery fund.”
Thousands of social media users praised the painting.
The unveiling of the mural comes after other murals came out that made fun of PM Scott Morrison for his handling of the bushfire crisis.
Artist Scott Marsh’s painting showed Morrison in a Hawaiian shirt in reference to the PM going on holiday to Hawaii in December while the bushfires were raging.
Another street artist, Van Thanh Rudd, painted a firefighter telling Scott Morrison to “get f**ked.”