Almost half a billion animals have been killed by the bush fires in Australia
While the rest of the world have been celebrating the festive season and bringing in 2020, Australia has been facing its worst crisis till date that has displaced thousands of people and wildlife, destroying millions of acres of land.
So far, there have been widely reported estimations of half a billion animals having been killed by the bushfires. According to the BBC, it's a figure that came from Prof Chris Dickman, an expert on Australian biodiversity at the University of Sydney.
“Prior research indicates that in severely burned areas the resulting lack of shelter, lack of food, and incursions by invasive predators -- red foxes and feral cats -- lead to further drastic but indirect reductions of animal numbers,” Dickman said in a statement.
Included in the half a billion estimate are Australia's famous koala bears. So far, 8,000 koalas from New South Wales are among those killed, which is a third of the region’s entire koala population. The death toll is expected to increase as the fires show no sign of abating.
“The fires have burned so hot and so fast that there has been significant mortality of animals in the trees, but there is such a big area now that is still on fire and still burning that we will probably never find the bodies,” Nature Conservation Council ecologist Mark Graham said, according to news.com.au.
Heartbreaking footage of kangaroos fleeing has been captured in Monaro, NSW, as bushfires close in.
For more fire updates: https://t.co/m3qKpIZsu5 pic.twitter.com/Jo6MDtuygC— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) December 31, 2019
In record heat Australia and South Australia, where temperature have risen to 40 degrees, koalas approached cyclists on the road to seek water. pic.twitter.com/DvW84gbaRq— Akki (@akkitwts) December 28, 2019
Images on social media show the devastating impact of the fires, including distressing images of charred kangaroos, koala bears and other animals who were unable to escaoe the inferno.
As the fires continue to spread, here's how you can help:
As the Victorian bushfire crisis continues, here is how you can provide immediate assistance to bushfire-affected wildlife. More info: https://t.co/CJVUgDDVH9 #NSWfires #VICfires
CC @DELWP_Vic @LilyDAmbrosioMP pic.twitter.com/80i5igItOY— Zoos Victoria (@ZoosVictoria) January 4, 2020