Surfing legend Kelly Slater weighs in on Australia’s bushfire disaster with a heartbreaking post showing a charred joey trapped in a barbed wire fence
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- Kelly Slater thinks mismanaged backburning played a role in the bushfire crisis
- The 11-time world champion hoped for a silver lining in the wake of the disaster
- ‘Hoping for safety and refuge for all my human and animal friends down under’
- Slater, like many sportspeople, pledged to donate to bushfire support groups
Surfing legend Kelly Slater has weighed in on Australia’s bushfire crisis with a heartbreaking Instagram post.
The eleven-time world champion posted an image of a charred joey trapped against a barbed wire fence in front of a burnt out plain.
The 47-year-old believes mismanaged backburning played a role in the destructive bushfires that have plagued the country over the past few months.
‘Australia. I’m not sure a picture could better sum up the fear and devastation more succinctly,’ Slater captioned the post.
‘I’m no expert but from the messages and reading I’ve done on the subject, mismanagement of forest underbrush back-burning in the winter months and overall water resources have helped create a perfect storm in the face of this drought.
Eleven-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater has weighed in on the Australian bushfire crisis. Pictured: Slater in action at Bells Beach in Victoria during the 2006 Rip Curl Pro
The picture Slater posted to his Instagram, showing a charred joey trapped against a barbed wire fence
‘I hope there is a silver lining and important lessons learned from the ongoing catastrophes once the dust settles.
‘One of my biggest fears as a kid was fires and ironically enough, my mum was a firefighter. Maybe one created the other.
‘Hoping for safety and refuge for all my human and animal friends down under.’
Slater has a long history with Australia, having lived part-time at Avalon on Sydney’s northern beaches for fifteen years and competing annually on the Australian leg of the World Surf League tour for more than two decades.
The Floridian has stood up for animals on many occasions before, including calling out SeaWorld for their treatment of orcas and eating a vegan diet in protest of factory farming.
Slater posted a selfie with an endangered quokka on Western Australia’s Rottnest Island in June last year.
Slater and an endangered quokka on Rottnest Island off the coast of Western Australia
Wildlife have been devastated by bushfires in the past few months. Pictured: a kangaroo flees from a burning home in Conjola on the New South Wales south coast
Sportspeople from around the globe have pledged to donate to various bushfire benefit and wildlife rescue charities, including Slater who commented ‘I’ll be helping raise funds for various groups’.
Many comments on the post backed Slater’s sentiment in the wake of the fires.
‘Mismanagement is exactly right Kelly. Burning off the forests in the winter months is exactly what should be done,’ one comment reads.
‘But no the Australian Government wouldn’t listen. Aboriginal people have been doing it for a very long time to manage the Australian outback. Maybe now the Government will bring it back in after this massive disaster.’
Others disagreed with Slater, noting that climate change is playing a factor in the crisis.
‘Didn’t you read about climate change bro, or do you feel too guilty about constantly flying around the world to go there?’ another comment reads.
‘Kelly… it’s climate change. Raking the forest is not the solution,’ one comment says.
When asked how he could help combat the bushfire crisis, Slater said that he will be ‘helping raise funds for various groups.’ Pictured: a firefighter turns his back on a blaze on the New South Wales south coast
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