Local crafter sews pouches for orphaned Australian animals

Local crafter sews pouches for orphaned Australian animals

Hanging kangaroo pouches are needed to shelter the many joeys left orphaned from Australia’s brush fires.

GLOCESTER – More than 15 million acres of Australia have been burned in fires, killing an estimated half-billion animals, according to Australian biodiversity experts, leaving many other animals injured and orphaned from the fires.

Judy Chase, of Glocester, is among those stepping up to help the cause, sewing pouches for baby kangaroos and cushions for the bottoms of pet crates.

As a sewer and quilter, she said she discovered Animal Help Rescue Guild on Facebook, a group that shares designs, instructions and guidelines for creating items for rescued animals.

The group is looking for joey pouches, hanging pouches, animal beds, bird and rodent nests, and flat bat wraps.

“They are desperate, desperate for these pouches,” Chase said.

She explained that many marsupial mothers have died from smoke inhalation with their young ones in their pouches. The babies survived, but need the security of a pouch to grow, Chase said.

“I want to get the word out there so maybe other crafters will help out, too,” Chase said.

She said she is concerned about the alarming number of animals, including birds, wallabies and koalas, that have been lost or injured during the Australian fires.

There is an enormous diversity of items needed, including sweaters for birds that have lost all their feathers.

“They are knitting and sewing this and that and the other thing,” Chase said.

She said she’s discovered people across the U.S. and around the world all helping the Australian animals.

Chase said she is using old T-shirts because the material is soft and forgiving, and she can purchase them at thrift stores at an affordable price.

She said once she has created a number of items, she will take them to a drop-off site in Massachusetts before they’re shipped to rescues in Australia. Chase said the group is also accepting cash donations to help in shipping the items to Australia.

Projects are easy, she said, and can be completed in a few hours, depending on the size of the pouch.

“Anybody can do it,” Chase said, adding that she knows of many crafters online who are enthusiastically making items.

Chase suggested checking the website and reading the directions first, as there are specific materials required for each project and particular areas of greatest need.