Ellen DeGeneres Launches GoFundMe Campaign with $5M Goal to Help People and Animals of Australia
The donations from the fundraiser will go to the Australian Red Cross and WIRES, Australia's largest wildlife rescue organization
Ellen DeGeneres is offering a hand to raise money for Australia amid the catastrophic fires.
The talk show host, 61, announced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week that she has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help the firefighters, residents, and animals of Australia as the fires continue to burn.
With a goal of $5 million, DeGeneres said the donations will go to the Australian Red Cross, the humanitarian aid and community services charity, plus WIRES, Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization.
“I love Australia. I love Australia so much, I even married an Australian,” she told her audience, referencing wife Portia de Rossi, 46. “Right now, Australia needs our help. Wildfires have been burning for four months and with record-breaking heat.”
“Thousands of people have been displaced,” she added. “Homes have been burned, lives have been lost.”
DeGeneres also brought attention to the animal death toll, which is now estimated to be over 1 billion.
“It’s unbelievable. Nearly a third of their habitat has been destroyed,” said DeGeneres. “It will take years for Australia to rebuild and they need our help.”
Since creating her GoFundMe page on Tuesday, more than $1.1 million has been raised from over 13,000 donors.
Part of those funds includes a $100,000 donation from Shutterfly, a $250,000 donation from United Airlines, and a $50,000 donation from Starbucks, DeGeneres said.
A spokesperson from GoFundMe confirms to PEOPLE that the donations have poured in from all 50 U.S. states and over 85 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, Germany, and Australia, and that the total raised only continues to climb.
“My viewers are amazing!” DeGeneres wrote in a tweet on Thursday. “I can’t thank you enough.”
DeGeneres joins a long list of celebrities who have already helped combat part of the devastation in Australia. Kylie Jenner, Shawn Mendes, Elton John, Chris Hemsworth, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, and Pink, among others, have all donated to the cause.
Comedian Celeste Barber also helped raise an impressive $32 million from a Facebook fundraiser recently.
Other stars, including the Irwin family, have done their part by caring for the animals who were affected by the intense flames at their wildlife hospital in Australia.
RELATED VIDEO: How You Can Help the Irwin Family’s Australia Wildfire Relief Efforts
Since September, at least 25 people have been killed while a whopping 12 million acres have been wiped out, destroying hundreds of homes and buildings. A seven-day state of emergency was declared on Dec. 23.
On Wednesday, ecologists from the University of Sydney said over 1 billion animals, including mammals, birds, and reptiles, are feared dead from the crisis.
This bleak estimate, which doubles the death count experts predicted weeks ago, comes from Chris Dickman, a professor of ecology at the University of Sydney, who adjusted his earlier estimate of 480 millions animals killed by the fires in just New South Wales — a southeastern Australian state greatly affected by the brushfires — to 840 million.
The massive number includes a third of the New South Wales koala population, and fatalities are only expected to increase.