Lewis Hamilton has pledged £262,000 to WIRES Wildlife Rescue, WWF Australia and the Rural Fire Services as they deal with the devastating impact of the Australian bushfires. Fires raging across New South Wales and Victoria since the middle of 2019 have destroyed millions of acres of land, killed more than one billion animals, led to the deaths of 28 people and caused thousands more to relocate.
Hamilton is a passionate environmentalist who has adopted a vegan lifestyle and called on fans to adopt the same way of living.
The F1 champion, who scooped his sixth title last year, has now donated a chunk of his fortune to support three causes involved in the efforts in Australia.
Opening up about the Australian bushfires in a post on Instagram, Hamilton revealed he had been hit hard by seeing the devastation they had caused and he called upon his followers to do their bit to help.
“It saddens me deeply to know that over 1 billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault,” Hamilton wrote.
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“My love of animals is no secret and I can’t help but grieve for the defenceless animals thought to have died so far, pushing certain species closer to extinction.
“I’m lucky enough to visit Australia often and I know first-hand how beautiful the country is. Keep fighting Australia.
“I’ve spent some time speaking to people in Australia who are working at the heart of this and I’m filled with admiration for everything they are doing.
“I implore you to join me in thinking about the impact we are having on our planet. Let’s work together to make small changes, and encourage our family and friends to do the same, so we can help shift the direction we’re going in.
“I’m donating $500K [£260,000] to support @wireswildliferescue @wwf_australia and the Rural Fire Services. If you are able and haven’t already, you can donate too. Every little helps.”
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Hamilton’s Instagram post included a video of a koala being saved from the devastating fires by volunteers and he also included a string of links to wildlife and fire services pages that fans can support.
Hamilton’s post came after he had highlighted on his Instagram story how agricultural practices in Australia have contributed to global warming and he had encouraged fans to go vegan.
Hamilton is due to begin his World Drivers’ Championship title defence at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in March.
The bushfires have put the race under threat, though, with F1 chiefs consulting organisers on a day-to-day basis to determine the best cause of action.
Air-quality in the state of Victoria has plunged to dangerous levels and the Australian Grand Prix might have to be postponed.
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