Establishment of the Australian Firefighters calendar was done in 1993. It was to support the Children’s Hospital Foundation, to fund for research work regarding childhood burns. From then and upto 2020 it has raised over $3.2 million for several charities.
“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,” According to a statement made by The Australian Firefighters Calendar. “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.”
This year’s the famous “Animal Lover’ calendar will be playing a more vital role. As the funds from the 2020’s calendar aided in paying for new equipment and supplies for almost 6 months, the 2021 version was aimed at treating injured wildlife from the 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 photoshoot on the Gold Coast,” said David Rogers, the director of the Australian Firefighters Calendar. “Even then, there is no guarantee that you will have a successful photo included in the calendar.”
The animals that are seen in the photos belong to some local refuge charities. They will bring dogs, puppies, kittens and cats. We also use therapy horses who have helped autistic children and adults suffering from mental illness,” told David. “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.”
Several firefighters get so friendly with the animals that they end up adopting them. “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.” Having taken that into account, some time goes into the process usually lasting upto 17 days.
However, the efforts taken will be for a genuine cause. “No one was left unaffected watching our precious wildlife trying to escape from the bushfires, and the loss of wildlife is beyond comprehension,” Rogers said about the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season, that was called as Black Summer. “Everyone at the Australian Firefighters Calendar decided that all our efforts needed to be focused on Australian Wildlife this year.”
The 2021 calendars focused on building the funds for native animal charities that are essential in supporting the fragil wildlife. One such hospital is the Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital. Dr.Stephen Van Mil of the hospital along with his team has dedicated their time in building the first mobile wildlife hospital in Australia. The mobile hospital will be used in emergencies.