Thanks, everyone, but the koalas have enough mittens now

Everyone loves animals in little outfits. But couple that with an environmental campaign and you’ve created an unstoppable craft monster.

The Guardian
January 29, 2015

Logo-GuardianThere is little that is likely to stir readers more than photos of adorable animals dressed up in funny clothes. Add the element of a vulnerable species rescued from the brink of death and destruction and you have clickbait gold.

Such was the case earlier this month when one of the world’s largest animal welfare and conservation charities, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), put out a call for assistance with crafting mittens for koalas whose paws were burned in wildfires across southeastern Australia.

“Our supporters are always asking what they can do to help,” says Josey Sharrad,native wildlife campaigner for IFAW’s Australia chapter. “So [when this wildfire hit] we put a little campaign together and sent it to our supporters and local media and we posted it to Facebook.”

More than 150 media outlets – from The Guardian to Good Morning America, not to mention scores of blogs – posted irresistible IFAW photos of koalas with burned paws wearing cotton mittens. The photos were accompanied by appeals to readers to pitch in and help.