In just a few days, a bunch of adorable stuffed koalas have taken over the urban landscape of New York City, climbing lampposts, fences, trees, and subway entrances from Central Park, to the Brooklyn Bridge, to Union Square, Times Square, Herald Square, and more. In a city where pop-up and guerrilla installations have become corporate endeavors, the Koalas of NYC effort is for a great cause: raising money for the Australian wildfires.

Photo by Jeremy Cohen, @JERMCOHEN. Courtesy of Koalas of NYC.

As of January 7th, 2020, 25.5 million acres have burned, which is about the size of South Korea, according to Time magazine. It is estimated that over a billion animals have been affected by the fires, and possibly over half of Australia’s koala population may have perished, along with innumerable insect species, birds, and other wildlife.

Koalas of NYC is run by the NYC-arm of the agency Cummins&Partners, which was founded in Melbourne, Australia. Over 50% of the NYC office is Australian, and the agency decided to launch the campaign at the crack of dawn on Friday. In just four days, it has raised 75% of its initial $10,000 fundraising goal for WIRES (Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service) – the largest wildlife rescue & rehabilitation charity in Australia.

Koalas of NYC at climbing treePhoto by Jeremy Cohen, @JERMCOHEN. Courtesy of Koalas of NYC.

The koalas were deliberately placed in prominent locations in New York City, and even paid a visit to FDNY Engine 7, Ladder 1, Battalion 1 to acknowledge the arrival of FDNY firefighters who have arrived in Australia to combat the flames. Attached to the koalas is a tag with a QR code that directs passersby to the Koalas of NYC Gofundme page. An Instagram account, @koalasofnyc, is sharing photographs taken by their team and by other Instagram users.

New York native and creative member of the Cummins&Partners team, Rachel Mitrani says, “I’ve loved seeing the reactions to our koalas. This activation reminds people of the kindness and humanity that still exists in the world. How a team, a city, a world can come together in times of crisis and shed a little light. The juxtaposition of some of the world’s most unique wildlife amongst a concrete jungle like New York City is what is so moving about this.”

Look out for the koalas and support the effort at the Koalas of NYC Gofundme page!

All photos by Jeremy Cohen, @JERMCOHEN. Courtesy of Koalas of NYC.