Australia fires: Six-year-old boy makes clay koalas to raise money for wildlife

An estimated one billion animals have been killed in the fires 

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Wednesday 15 January 2020 19:22 GMT
Boy creates clay koalas to raise money for animals in Australia

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A six-year-old boy has raised more than $47,000 (£36,000) for the animals affected by the Australian wildfires by making clay koalas.

Two weeks ago, Owen Colley, from Hingham, Massachusetts, learned that animals were being hurt by the fires in Australia, which experts estimate have killed up to one billion animals.

Shortly after, Owen expressed a desire to help, according to his mother Caitlin Colley, who told CNN that the family came up with the idea to make clay koalas in exchange for donations together.

“We could make some clay koalas and give them in response to donations from friends and family,” Caitlin said.

When asked what his goal was, Owen said: “To help the animals that have been hurted by the Australian bush fires.”

Owen is sending the koalas to anyone who donates $50 or more (CBS)
Owen is sending the koalas to anyone who donates $50 or more (CBS)

While Owen crafted the little clay animals, Caitlin and her husband Simon, who is from Australia, set up a GoFundMe where people could donate to Wildlife Rescue South Coast, a wildlife rescue group in New South Wales.

According to Owen, the plan was as simple. “People buy them, then we get the money, then we give it to Australia,” the six-year-old told Boston 25 News.

Those who donate $50 or more get a koala, which Caitlin said take Owen three to four minutes to make out of silver, white and black Sculpey clay. The koalas then bake in the oven for 17 minutes.

So far, Owen has made about 55 koalas, according to his parents - although he has raised much more than that.

By Tuesday, the family had met its $5,000 goal, then its $20,000 goal. As of Wednesday, the total has reached $47,859.

According to Owen, the new goal is $3m.

And while the kindergartener wants people “to know about Australia” and “more about what animals are in Australia,” his mother hopes the project will also inspire other children.

"Anyone can make a difference and when we come together we can make an even bigger difference," Caitlin said. "I just I love the idea that maybe other kids can take this to their communities and sell little clay koalas locally and raise money for this great cause."

You can donate to Owen’s fundraiser here.

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