Barn Hill Preserve flies out to Australia; how you can help wildlife recovery efforts

Wildlife expert also asking for donations to assist in crisis

Owner of Barn Hill Preserve heading to Australia to help animals affected by brush fires

ETHEL, La. (WAFB) - The owner of Barn Hill Preserve, a wildlife sanctuary in East Feliciana Parish, will soon be traveling to Australia to assist workers in caring and rescuing wild animals injured by massive brush fires.

Gabe Ligon and his wildlife sanctuary specialize in housing exotic animals, such as kangaroos.

“We keep a few Australian species here,” Ligon said. “I’ve made a career of taking care of these animals and I feel like I can do my part as a professional in the industry that works with kangaroos to go over there and help out.”

Ligon flew out of a California airport on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

I’m headed to Australia. Thank for you all of the birthday wishes! I will be flying to Australia next week to assist...

Posted by Gabe Ligon on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

“I’m very nervous about the situation,” Ligon said. “Fire is a very unforgiving beast and it’s very intimidating to think so much of the country is engulfed, and we’re not only dealing with animal lives here, we’re dealing with human lives.”

An estimated 1 billion animals have been lost in the fires as scientists warn that species of mammals, birds, insects, fungi and plants may have been wiped out before they were even discovered. Accurate numbers on animal losses are hard to come by as the disaster unfolds, with some fire officials saying blazes will continue to burn into March.

Even animals that survive the fires are still at risk. If their habitat is gone, “it doesn’t matter,” Manu Saunders, a research fellow and insect ecologist at the University of New England in Armidale told The Washington Post. “They’ll die anyway.”

More: Watch Australian crews airdrop food for wallabies impacted by bushfires

As Ligon prepares to leave, he’s asking for Louisiana residents for donations to support efforts in Australia.

“These smaller facilities that take care of the more specialty animals, they’re really not getting any funding,” he said. “So our job right now is to one, fund-raise and distribute money to these smaller sanctuaries who are in need, and two, to do a supply drive.”

Ligon will be in Australia for at least a month.

If you would like to donate to the cause, click here. There is also an Amazon wishlist full of needed supplies.

Barn Hill will be hosting a kangaroo yoga class on Friday, Jan. 24 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person. Ligon says filling the two classes, one at his sanctuary in Ethel and the second at Energy Gym in Delaware, would raise around $5,000.

Barn Hill Preserve is hosting a kangaroo yoga class to raise critical funds for supplies needed to treat animals affected by the Australian bushfires.
Barn Hill Preserve is hosting a kangaroo yoga class to raise critical funds for supplies needed to treat animals affected by the Australian bushfires. (Source: WAFB)

“The money would go a long way toward buying supplies,” Ligon says.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.