Pawprint paintings for a purpose in Pueblo

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PUEBLO, Colo. — Nearly 18 million acres have burned across Australia’s six states and about half-a-billion animals have been affected by the fires.

In southern Colorado — nearly nine thousand miles away — the red pandas at the Pueblo Zoo are giving a helping paw.

It’s a fundraiser for the Australian wildfires through paintings by a Pueblo panda.

Pueblo’s Zoo Red Panda Priya spent Monday painting.

Priya walked through the paint and then onto the canvas to create paw print pictures. The original canvases and prints will be sold online and the money raised will be going to help out animals who have been hurt by the Australia wildfires. Pueblo Zoo is partnering with the American Association of Zoo Keepers, and DocuMart to bring a special gift for the donations.

Red pandas aren’t from Australia, still, this cutie created a colorful contribution to animals who have been hurt or lost their homes in the Australian wildfires.

“Even though these species did not come from Australia, they face a similar plight, there is being wiped out, and that’s taking a pretty bad toll on them, its kind of a parallel, between what the red pandas are going through is similar to what the koalas and all these other animals are going through,” said Pueblo zookeeper Brittany Merlo.

There will only be about 50 original canvases and the rest will be copies. To purchase the paintings click here. The zoo won’t be sending them out for a few weeks.

“I think it’s cool for us to say as a community, ‘hey we got all of this money together with our famous red panda Priya, we are sending it a really good cause’,” Merlo said.

The Denver Zoo also making a contribution of $5,000 and matching up to $5,000 in additional donations through its Field Conservation fund. The Denver Zoo said they’ve raised more than $55,000 so far for Zoos Victoria.

The Denver Zoo said they are also closely monitoring the situation and will evaluate other ways to assist in the near future, including potential direct staff involvement, as the nature of the emergency becomes clearer.

>> Tap here to donate to the Pueblo’s Zoo fund or to buy a painting.

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