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Seneca Park Zoo collects donations for Australian wildlife devastated by bushfires

koala-1-1457289.jpg Lee

Rochester-area residents have donated thousands of dollars to a fund dedicated to the care of wildlife injured in Australia's bushfires.

Seneca Park Zoo is collecting the money on behalf of the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund established by Zoo Victoria.

Visitors to the Seneca Park Zoo can make their donations at the front gate, or on the zoo's Facebook page.

"Most of the people who came into the zoo yesterday made a donation even though they didn't realize it wasn't going on before they got here," said zoo director David Hamilton. "Our Facebook posts have been very positive. Everybody is glad that there is a local place that is collecting money, a place that is safe."

Hamilton says 100 percent of the donations will be used for the immediate critical care for animals burned in the bushfires and for the long-term care of their habitat, which has been devastated. More than $3,400 was collected as of late Friday morning.

The Australian wildfires have killed more than a billion animals. Conservationists fear some species face local extinctions.