AUSTIN, Texas - Emu, along with cockatoos, are of some of the animals native to Australia at the Austin Zoo and parts of Australia provide critical habitat for certain breeds.
On Wednesday morning, Scott Chambers, director of animal care, said he is open to the idea of rehabbing animals injured in the fires burning in Australia.
"But as of right now, I don’t think anybody is going to start exporting animals out of Australia, I think they can handle it, but if worse came to worst, we obviously would be here with open arms,” said Chambers.
The rehab work won’t be easy, according to Chambers.
"There's a lot of things they'll face, obviously the biggest ones that come to mind is trying to make sure you heal the animals, as fast as possible, where they don’t become too dependent on humans, because if they become imprinted or become dependent on humans for their survival, that when you try to release these guys back into the wild, they are not going to understand how to be a wild animal again,” said Chambers.
Chambers got his start caring for animals near Sydney and still has friends there.
"They think they can weather it out, but I definitely think this is the worst, they've seen it in a really long time,” said Chambers.
Satellite imagery shows thick layers of smoke from fires on the southeastern coast. Images of desperate rescues and thousands of injured animals continue to come out of the fire zones.
"Every day they're getting pain relief, all of these guys are, we're also treating them for severe burns and minor burns on others,” said Dana Mitchell with the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park.
The recovery effort certainly is going to take time and Chambers said the Zoo is looking at ways to be part of that effort.
"Yeah, absolutely, we've been talking about it a lot here, obviously all of the animals, that are struggling out there, we want to help them, this is what we do here, so yeah we are trying to figure out a way to get some type of fundraising going,” said Chambers.
Money raised could also be used to help the recovery of the habitat.
"Everybody focuses on koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies like they are absolutely amazing, they're iconic, they need help, but all of the other things you don’t think about, like from the insects that live in the leaflets that provide food for animals like numbats, other birds, and the nectar off of eucalyptus flowers and other plants out there...there's so much devastation from top to bottom, it’s going to take time to heal," said Chambers.
Until a local relief effort is organized, Chambers is putting together a list of organizations he is familiar with where donations can be made, including: