Number Of Animals Feared Dead In Australian Bushfires Soars To More Than One Billion
As Australia’s bushfires turn the country to ash, the loss of wildlife is skyrocketing, with the number of dead animals now estimated at more than one billion.
Since September last year, bushfires have taken the lives of at least 25 people and millions upon millions of animals. In New South Wales (NSW), an area particularly afflicted by infernos, 1,588 homes have been destroyed and a further 653 damaged.
Only at the turn of the new year, ecologists put the number of dead animals at 480 million – but as the blazes continue to burn, the death count continues to rise.
Chris Dickman, an ecologist at the University of Sydney, estimates that in NSW alone more than 800 million mammals, birds and reptiles have died as a result of the ongoing fires. This number is exclusive to the region and specific wildlife group.
Dickman told HuffPost:
The original figure – the 480 million – was based on mammals, birds and reptiles for which we do have densities, and that figure now is a little bit out of date. It’s over 800 million given the extent of the fires now – in NSW alone. If 800 million sounds a lot – it’s not all the animals in the firing line.
This figure excluded bats, frogs and invertebrates – however, if they were included, the number would be much higher ‘without any doubt at all’. ‘Over a billion would be a very conservative figure,’ he added.
Stuart Blanch, an environmental scientist at the World Wildlife Fund Australia, echoed Dickman’s comments, saying one billion was a modest figure.
As animals continue to suffer at the hands of fires, everyday people and celebs are chipping in to do their bit. Steve Irwin’s family have treated more than 90,000 animals at their Wildlife Hospital, including victims of the crisis gripping the country.
One model has managed to raise $1 million for the bushfires by selling nudes, and Chris Hemsworth has donated $1 million to firefighters and communities battling the blazes.
Encouraging his followers to donate to the cause, Hemsworth said in an Instagram video:
As you’re well aware, the bushfires in Australia have caused massive devastation. They continue to burn, there’s warmer weather on its way, we’re really still in the thick of it here and there’s plenty of challenging times ahead.
What we need is your support and your donations. Every dollar counts. That money goes directly to the firefighters, the people on the frontline, the people who have suffered, the communities that have taken a hit and who are in desperate need of our support.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]