While it might be the dead of winter here in the U.S., on the other side of the world in Australia it is the middle of bushfire season. For the past week, south Australia has been ravaged by wildfires that have consumed over 30,888 acres of land. Firefighters have been working tirelessly to try and control the fires, but the massive blaze has already destroyed an enormous amount of forest, killing thousands of animals and leaving others without access to food or water.

The koala species has been particularly impacted by these fires which have destroyed the native habitat that belongs to 35 of the regions 143 koalas. Because koalas are tree dwelling species and move at a slow pace, those that do survive fires are often left with extremely painful paw burns.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is collaborating with local wildlife rescue organizations to attend to the injured koalas who have thankfully made it out of the fires alive. To care for these injured koalas, IFAW asked for donations of mittens that can be used to cover the painful paw burns. Not only was the response to this request an enormous success, in just one day that got over 500 pledges to make mittens, but it is the more adorable thing we have ever seen!

The mittens, made of 100 percent cotton not only aid in the healing process, but help keep burn cream in place to ease the Koala’s pain.

IFAW sent out a press release with basic instructions on how to make the mittens. With bushfire season in full force, rescue organizations will need to have a supply of mittens on hand.

It is important that the mittens are replaced frequently to keep the wound site clean. Mitten donations have come in from as far away as England.

It can take up to a year for the koala’s paws to heal entirely, so these little guys have a long road ahead of them.

 Josey Sharrad, a native wildlife campaigner for IFAW’s Sydney, Australia branch, believes the outpouring of support for these koalas shows just how much the public cares about wildlife. 

You can lend a hand to help these koalas too by sewing your own pair of mittens.

 Mittens can be mailed to IFAW, 6 Belmore Street, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW 2010, Australia.

All image source: IFAW