INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – The wildfires in Australia have killed nearly half a billion animals. The survivors are displaced from their natural habitat, perhaps forever.
Some Hoosiers are using their crafting talents to help.
Angi Turnpaugh is a 911 operator from Delphi responding to the animal emergency in Australia.
Turnpaugh has joined crafters across the country to knit, crochet and sew pouches, nests, blankets and even sweaters for animals displaced by the wildfires.
“It’s incredibly heartbreaking,” Turnpaugh said. “I’ve read a couple of articles that are saying that some of the species may become extinct environmentally.”
Turnpaugh started the Hoosiers Helping American Rescue Crafters Connect page on Facebook to organize the efforts in Indiana.
Turnpaugh has six sugar glider rescue pets.
“So, they’re near and dear to my heart as well as the other animals in Australia,” she said. “So, I felt like I just really had to do something to help with this effort.”
Sarah Milward lives in Bloomington and started the Southern Indiana Animal Rescue Crafters Facebook page.
“I can’t go over there and physically help these people and animals who desperately need it,” said Milward. “But I can knit something. I can sew something. There’s also going to be a great need for items like this to help injured animals that did survive, and to hopefully reduce some of the impact on those animal populations.”
To save on shipping costs, Turnpaugh is collecting crafted items from Indianapolis to the north and Sarah is collecting everything south of Indianapolis through a network of other Hoosier crafters.
All the items made in Indiana will be gathered on Jan. 24 and taken to a regional collection site in Illinois, where they will be shipped to Australia.
The Indiana Facebook groups are part of American Rescue Crafters Connect, a national network of animal rescue crafters.