Six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has pledged to donate $500,000 to bushfire relief.
The 35-year-old Brit took to Instagram on Thursday to say he was ‘deeply saddened,’ after it was reported that more than a billion animals have died in the Australian crisis.
Lewis told Australians to ‘keep fighting’ and encouraged his 14 million followers to donate.
‘It saddens me deeply to know that over 1 billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault,’ Lewis said, underneath a heartbreaking clip of a koala surrounded by flames.
‘My love of animals is no secret and I can’t help but grieve for the defenceless animals thought to have died so far, pushing certain species closer to extinction.’
He continued: ‘I’m lucky enough to visit Australia often and I know first-hand how beautiful the country is. Keep fighting Australia.’
Lewis added that he was ‘filled with admiration’ for those who are battling the fires and who are supporting the bushfire relief.
‘I’m donating $500K to support Wires Wildlife Rescue, WWF Australia and the Rural Fire Services. If you are able and haven’t already, you can donate too.’
More than $200million has been donated by celebrities, sportspeople, businesses and the general public and it continues to climb each day.
The largest pledges have come from billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest, who promised to donate $70million, comedian Celeste Barber who has so far raised almost $50million from her social media campaign and James Packers’ family who pledged $5million.
Thor star Chris Hemsworth and his family donated a million dollars, while Kylie Minogue donated $500,000.
The fires are devastating the country, with thousands of people losing their homes and 26 people dead.