Ecologists at the University of Australia in Sydney estimate that nearly 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have been killed by the bush fires sweeping the state of New South Wales, according to The Huffington Post. Pictures appearing in the news and on social media are heartwrenching and terrifying — and that's nothing compared to the actual experience of the people and animals facing the smoke and fires for weeks on end.

Prayer does not come easily when conditions become this dire. Sometimes it doesn't come at all, until we counterbalance our horror by restoring our sense of what could be and needs to be.

And so we want to offer photo meditations on five animals being affected by these fires, so that we can remember them whole and wish them safety and comfort, even as we continue to fight to have our voices heard where it matters to turn around this destruction and live in harmony with Earth.

Here, then, in images, are our prayers for Koalas, Kangaroos, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Western Ground Parrots, and Kangaroo Island Dunnarts. Click on any picture to view it in a lightbox. Please hold these creatures in your heart and mind as happy, healthy, and safe — and then let your actions reflect the desire of your heart.

May Koalas be happy, healthy, and safe.

May Kangaroos be happy, healthy, and safe.

May Sulfer Crested Cockatoos be happy, healthy, and safe.

May Western Ground Parrots be happy, healthy, and safe.

May Kangaroo Island Dunnarts be happy, healthy, and safe.

This practice can be expanded to any other animals about whom you are concerned. May all be happy, healthy, and safe — and may we feel and live to make it so. Amen.

Next Post: Praying for Our Part in Preserving the Amazon Rainforest