The 2021 calendar will help raise funds for animal charities that are vital to supporting the fragile wildlife.
In the aftermath of the Australian bushfires, we find firefighters working together to help and heal the animals that they managed to save. The Australian Firefighters Calendar was first established 27 years ago to support the Children's Hospital Foundation. They began to provide funds for research into childhood burns and have raised over $3.2 million for various charities since then. For next year's calendar, several firefighters decided to pose with these very wild animals that they saved. We took a look at some of the photos they have released and they are amazing!
"2019 and early 2020 was a particularly devastating time, and the world grieved with Australia as we suffered through catastrophic bushfires, and an estimated loss of 1 billion animals from our diverse native wildlife," The Australian Firefighters Calendar team explained to Bored Panda in a statement. "While the fires may have gone, the destroyed bushland has made it impossible for many of the displaced wildlife to return to their natural habitat."
Funds from last year's 2020 calendar have already helped pay for new equipment and supplies for nearly 6 months. The upcoming 2021 edition will also play a vital role in treating injured wildlife from the recent fires. "Every year, hundreds of firefighters from around Australia submit photos to be part of the calendar photoshoot, but only 24 are chosen to come to the photo shoot on the Gold Coast," David Rogers, the director of the Australian Firefighters Calendar told Bored Panda. "Even then, there is no guarantee that you will have a successful photo included in the calendar."
These animals come from various local refuge charities that have been helping them for years now. "They will bring dogs, puppies, kittens and cats. We also use therapy horses who have helped autistic children and adults suffering from mental illness," Rogers explained. "And we use Australian Wildlife from the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary. Ducklings, alpacas, goats, and lams, we have every animal you can think of at the photoshoot." The animals really trust the firefighters and you can see that very evidently in the photos. "We have had firefighters adopt puppies and kittens from the photoshoot," Rogers said, adding that the animals are the stars of the show. "They never misbehave. It's like the animals know they are being photographed." That being said, the whole process takes time. This year's photoshoot, for example, lasted 17 days.
"No one was left unaffected watching our precious wildlife trying to escape from the bushfires, and the loss of wildlife is beyond comprehension," Rogers recalled the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season, which was dubbed the Black Summer. "Everyone at the Australian Firefighters Calendar decided that all our efforts needed to be focused on Australian Wildlife this year." Thanks to the 2021 calendar, even more funds will be raised for native animal charities that are vital to support the fragile wildlife. Among these is Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital where Dr. Stephen Van Mil and his team are working to build Australia's first mobile wildlife hospital to be used in emergencies.
"Now in its 28th year, the world's most popular calendar is back for 2021. And after the year we've all had, the Australian Firefighters Calendar is certainly a sight for sore eyes. 2019 and early 2020 was a particularly devastating time, and the world grieved with Australia as we suffered through catastrophic bushfires and an estimated loss of 1 billion animals from our diverse native wildlife. While the fires may have gone, the destroyed bushland has made it impossible for many of the displaced wildlife to return to their natural habitat," The Australian Firefighters Calendar team said in a press release.