Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday he was donating $500,000 towards the rescue and care of wildlife caught in bushfires ravaging southeast Australia.
The Briton, who has adopted a vegan lifestyle and become outspoken on the environment, posted a clip on social media of a scorched koala being tended to against a backdrop of smoke and flames.
The bushfires have left 26 people dead and killed or injured an estimated one billion animals.
“It saddens me deeply to know that over 1 billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault,” commented the Mercedes driver
“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.”
The 35-year-old urged his 14 million followers on Instagram, and 5.6 million on Twitter, 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,” added Hamilton, who said he was donating to Wires Wildlife Rescue, WWF Australia and rural fire services.