Lewis Hamilton has donated $500,000 to aid the Wires Wildlife Rescue effort in Australia amid the ongoing bushfire crisis in the country.
Following on from a number of high-profile acts of support — including Alexander Rossi auctioning off his helmet from last year’s Bathurst 1000 – Hamilton has made his own pledge of USD $500,000 ($725,000 Australian) to support the charity that is attempting to protect wildlife in Australia, with some estimates putting the total number of animals affected by the bushfires at a billion.
In an emotional post on his Instagram page, Hamilton confirmed the amount he was donating to the effort and asked his follows to help support the cause.
“It saddens me deeply to know that over 1 billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault,” Hamilton wrote. “My love of animals is no secret and I can’t help but grieve for the defenseless animals thought to have died so far, pushing certain species closer to extinction.
“I’m lucky enough to visit Australia often and I know first-hand how beautiful the country is. Keep fighting Australia. I’ve spent some time speaking to people in Australia who are working at the heart of this and I’m filled with admiration for everything they are doing.
“I implore you 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.”
The worst-hit areas are in New South Wales and Victoria, and Formula 1’s opening race of the season takes place in Melbourne, Victoria on March 15. The sport says it is in constant contact with the race organizers as it monitors the situation, with further forms of support being worked on ahead of the scheduled grand prix at Albert Park.
Hamilton has been proactive in pushing for F1 to work harder at reducing its environmental impact, with the sport announcing late last year that it aims to be carbon neutral by 2030.