Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has donated more than £260,000 to support fire and animal rescue services working in the Australian bushfire crisis.
Huge parts of south-east Australia have been ravaged by fires with 27 people killed and more than 2,000 homes destroyed.
Hamilton is also concerned about the fires’ devastating effect on wildlife and the continuing impact of climate change.
The 35-year-old Mercedes driver wrote on Instagram: “It saddens me deeply to know that over 1 billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault.
“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.
“I’m lucky enough to visit Australia often and I know first-hand how beautiful the country is. Keep fighting Australia. I’ve spent some time speaking to people in Australia who are working at the heart of this and I’m filled with admiration for everything they are doing.
“I implore you 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.”
Hamilton added that he has donated 500,000 Australian dollars (£262,000) to WIRES Wildlife Rescue, WWF Australia and the Rural Fire Services.
A number of other sports stars have also donated or pledged to raise funds, including Nick Kyrgios, Shane Warne and Neil Robertson.