Nearly Half A Billion Animals Have Died In Australian Bushfires Since September
A new, devastating estimate suggests almost half a billion native Australian animals have died since September, with bushfires having decimated areas of New South Wales in recent months.
More than three million hectares of the Australian state have burned during the ongoing bushfire crisis, and it’s now believed around 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have perished in the blazes, either directly or indirectly.
Horrifyingly, it’s feared some species will not return, with the bushfires having brought a major blow to the rich biodiversity of this beautiful country.
Speaking with the Daily Mail Australia, Chris Dickman, professor of ecology at the University of Sydney, made the following heartbreaking statement:
Some things probably won’t come back. It’s nearly half a billion native animals.
Professor Dickman explained how koalas rescued from the flames are likely to face a struggle to reproduce in coming generations, whether they are released back into their natural habitat or remain in captivity.
Professor Dickman said:
Almost certainly, a lot of koalas would have been killed directly by the flames and probably indirectly by a combination of starvation, being picked off by dogs, even for the ones that survived.
Experts in the area have expressed concerns 30% of one koala colony on the northeast coast – between 4,500 and 8,400 – has been wiped out by the flames.
Tracy Burgess, a volunteer at Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services (WIRES), told Reuters how it was worrying to see less animal patients than expected:
We’re not getting that many animals coming into care. So, our concern is that they don’t come into care because they’re not there anymore, basically.
WIRES receives limited government funding and relies heavily on public donations, as well as assistance from kind-hearted volunteers like Burgess who tend to affected animals in their very own homes.
Going forward, it’s feared many wildlife communities will require human assistance to bring population levels anywhere near to where they were prior to the bushfire crisis.
With bushfires still devastating the land so many animals call home, it’s still too early to say exactly how many more creatures will lose their lives.
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