San Antonio Zoo working to help Australian wildlife

Staff are coordinating with partners in Australia to see if medical experts are needed to assist

Staff members at the San Antonio Zoo are working on a plan to see how they can best aid wildlife in Australia, as more than 200 wildfires rage in that country.

SAN ANTONIO – Tim Morrow, president and CEO of the San Antonio Zoo, is calling on Spurs player Patty Mills to join him in the efforts to send help to Australia to help care for the animals impacted by the ongoing wildfires.

Dante Fenolio, vice president of conservation and research for the zoo, said they haven’t heard from Mills yet, but the plan to send help is in the works.

“It would be fantastic to have Patty Mills step up and help with this, but he’s already very, very involved. We’ll take any help we can get from anybody,” Fenolio said.

The zoo is not ready to say what the plan is because it is working with partners in Australia to see what they specifically need.

Researchers are worried about the animals that have small geographical ranges. With more than 200 fires burning and more land expected to be consumed, total habitats could be destroyed.

Researchers in Australia say nearly half a billion animals have already been killed.

“We need to reconnect with wildlife, and we need to be connected to nature, because those are the things from which, for example, all of our next medicines will come. They come from biodiversity,” Fenolio said. “The fate of humanity and the fate of wildlife are intertwined in a way that cannot be undone.”

Fenolio said the zoo hopes to announce the plan in about two weeks. He said he wants San Antonians to keep three things in mind about Australia:

  1. The country is known as a biodiversity hot spot, meaning there are a lot of plants and animals, and interaction among and between them is a lot more than average than you would find somewhere else.
  2. The wildlife found is considered endemic, meaning it’s not found in any other place.
  3. Australia is about the size of the continental U.S.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Before starting KSAT in 2017, Lee was a photojournalist at KENS 5, where he won a Lone Star Emmy in 2014 for Best Weather Segment. In 2009 and 2010 Lee garnered first-place awards with the Texas Association of Broadcasters for Best Investigative Series in College Station, as well as winning first place for Staff Photojournalism in 2011 at KBTX.