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Photograph: Courtesy of Jeremy Cohen/Cummins&Partners

Koala plushies are popping up around NYC to inspire Australian bushfire donations

Shaye Weaver

A different kind of pop-up with a mission has taken to the city streets.

To call attention to the bushfires that have devastated about 15.6 million acres across Australia, a NYC-based advertising agency has affixed fluffy koala plushies to signposts and light poles in the city.

You may have seen one outside of the Oculus, MoMA, Radio City Music Hall and even on the Brooklyn Bridge.

While the stuffed koalas are extremely cute hanging around the city (especially the one affixed glamorously in Times Square), they reveal a shocking fact on a yellow tag that hangs from them: "1 billion of the world's unique wildlife has died in the Australian bushfires."

Each tag has a QR code that directs finders to the Koalas of NYC Gofundme page, where they can make a donation.

So far, almost $12,000 has been raised and will go to WIRES, New South Wales Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service Inc. to rescue and care for the fire-effected animals, including koalas, which have become a symbol of the devastation since videos have surfaced of the animals being rescued out of the fires and taking drinks of water from volunteers.

WIRES is regularly receiving 600-1000 calls a day from the community needing wildlife rescue advice and assistance for sick, injured and orphaned animals, according to Cummins&Partners, the ad agency that put the koalas throughout NYC.

The agency's hope is to keep them up until the fires are under control, but some of the koalas have already been taken down. 

Photograph: Courtesy of Jeremy Cohen/Cummins&Partners

"Our agency has Australian roots, so after returning from the holidays and spoke of the fires happening we bounced a few ideas off as a team on how we can raise awareness and donations for the wildlife affected," said Cummins&Partners' Diane Villavieja. "We wanted to connect New Yorkers to what was happening on the other side of the world in an affable way and strike a balance between the tragedy of bushfires and the loss of so many precious animals. It's meant to be heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. And what better canvas to paint this on than New York."

Cummins&Partners is documenting the koalas' hangout spots on an Instagram page, @koalasofnyc.


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