San Diego, California - In the last week, San Diego Zoo Global has raised more than a half-million dollars for Australian wildlife relief. This number includes the money raised through the attendance match on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, and on-site donations from members, staff and volunteers who came to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park to donate money in person and through online donations. The nonprofit conservation organization announced efforts to raise funds in the wake of devastating fires in Australia, as it shared the news of koala researchers working to save wildlife in the field.

“We are overwhelmed by the support that this initiative has received from our audiences, and inspired that so many people want to join us in saving Australian wildlife,” said Paul A. Baribault, president/CEO, San Diego Zoo Global. “We know that there will be years of work to help ensure that species like koalas and platypuses can recover from the wildfires that have swept that country—and we are extremely grateful to all of the people who have joined us in our effort to help.”

San Diego Zoo Global has been working in collaboration with government officials and conservationists in the field to learn about and conserve Australian wildlife since 1923. San Diego Zoo Global officials continue to gather information from their researchers in the field and colleagues in Australia as they commit to an endeavor they recognize may take years.

 “It is hard to comprehend the magnitude of the disaster that has occurred, but we are committed for the long term in our support for Australian wildlife,” said Shawn Dixon, chief operating officer, San Diego Zoo Global. “We are inspired by all of our guests, members, donors, staff and volunteers who have contributed to help us provide for the immediate needs of researchers saving species in the field. The response has been tremendous, and is inspiring us to do more.”

Record-breaking high temperatures and severe drought have fueled a series of wildfires that have been raging in Australia for several weeks. More than 15 million acres have been affected so far, with wildfires joining together in some areas to create mega-fire events. In response to the threat facing wildlife and habitats in Australia, San Diego Zoo Global has begun a fundraising campaign to support recovery of koalas, platypuses and other species. For more information, and to support these efforts, visit

As an international nonprofit organization, San Diego Zoo Global works to fight extinction through conservation efforts for plants and animals worldwide. With a history of leadership in species recovery and animal care, San Diego Zoo Global works with partners in science-based field programs on six continents, and maintains sanctuaries and public education facilities in many places. Inspiring a passion for nature is critical to saving species, and San Diego Zoo Global’s outreach efforts share the wonder of wildlife with millions of people every year. Current major conservation initiatives include fighting wildlife trafficking and the impacts of climate change on wildlife species; broad-spectrum species and habitat protection efforts in Kenya, in Peru, and on islands worldwide; preventing extinction in our own backyard; and expanding efforts to bank critical genetic resources and apply them to the conservation of critically endangered species.