Countless animals perished in the Australia bushfires. They didn't stand a chance as the fires roared towards them. Others somehow survived the inferno but sustained nasty injuries. Emerging through the destruction was a Kiwi team tasked to find survivors and give them a second chance of life. That team was from Animal Evac NZ.
Walking slowly through the barren scarred landscape, which had been obliterated by the Australian bushfires, Darren Gray looked for any sign of animal life.
His eyes narrowed onto a solitary figure standing in the apocalyptic landscape.
He approached quietly but the tired and afraid kangaroo wasn't going anywhere as its feet and tail were badly burnt.
It was the kangaroo's lucky day as Darren was part of a small team from Animal Evac New Zealand who spent two weeks rescuing wildlife caught up in the devastation.
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As the enormity of the bushfires grew, the Animal Evac team was put on standby, before getting the call to deploy.
"We were the first international animal welfare group over there."
The team flew to Sydney before being directed to Blue Mountains and operating in a town called Bundernoon, and then to Batemans Bay as well as Milton.
Their focus was searching destroyed areas "and trying to pull out any animals that were still injured or needed care".
"The areas, which used to be forests, were very eerie, like a bomb had gone off.
"You go in and there's nothing.
"All the trees are black, the ground is like concrete, and you're walking through the ash, and there's nothing to be seen and no noise.
"Day after day, up to 12 hours a day, we would walk through these areas that had been destroyed and trying to find animals."
The majority of animals they came across were kangaroos, young and old, with various injuries.
"The problem with kangaroos, unfortunately, was that their main feet and tails were all burnt, so a lot of them couldn't move and would just stand there.
"Our team had a vet and we also worked with local vets, and they made the decisions.
"They [local vets] had darters and shooters.
"We would dart the animal first and then check to see if we could help out or repair it.
"Unfortunately if we couldn't it was put out of its misery. The vets did all of that."
At one stage Darren, who is a senior public spaces animal management officer for Kāpiti Coast District Council, carried a 40kg kangaroo out of the devastation.
Rescued animals would be taken to the team's base for treatment before relocation to wildlife sanctuaries.
While physically taxing, the work also had its emotional moments.
"Seeing dead animals and skeletons, and knowing they didn't stand a chance. It was tough."
The self-sufficient team, which had a variety of skills, also issued 120 pet carrier boxes, sponsored by SAFE (Save Animals from Exploitation), to the community.
Financial donations meant the team, which stayed in Airbnbs, didn't have to worry about money but solely focus on their lifesaving work.
"We're fully voluntary so a Givealittle page and stuff were set up for us which helped us to maintain the time we were there and bring in a second group so half the team could go home because they were shattered."
Darren was happy to be part of a team doing something to help.
"It was never enough but it was nice to be there and feel that we could help in some way.
"We did as much as we could. I was very fortunate to go and it's a good charity."
Animal Evac is a voluntary organisation, New Zealand's only dedicated animal disaster management charity.