One world champion Lewis Hamilton holds a championship trophy. File photo
Six-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday he was donating $500,000 towards the rescue and care of wildlife bushfire ravaging southeast Australia.
Hamilton is an advocate for environment and has since adopted the vegan lifestyle.
The bushfires has affected an average of one billion animals through death and injuries. It has also left 26 people dead.
"It saddens me deeply to know that over 1 billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault," commented the Mercedes driver, who will start his bid for a record-equalling seventh title in Melbourne in March.
"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."
The 35-year-old urged his 14 million followers on Instagram, and 5.6 million on Twitter, 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," added Hamilton, who said he was donating to Wires Wildlife Rescue, WWF Australia and rural fire services.
Renault's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo has also used social media to call for donations and saying he had contributed.
He said he would also be signing and raffling his racesuit from this year's Australian Grand Prix to raise more funds.
Other Australian sports figures and international tennis players in the country for tournaments ahead of the Australian Open have also raised funds in support of relief and recovery efforts.
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