Australia has been ravaged by vicious bush fires that first started in September of last year and are still ongoing. These are considered the worst forest fires in Australian history. With 17.9 million acres of land destroyed by the Australian bushfires.
The fire is mostly concentrated in the southeast states of New South Wales. And Queensland and the ecologically diverse island of Kangaroo Island. The loss to human life has been devastating, with many losing their homes and properties in the fires. Even more devastating is the effect of the bush fires on the wildlife of Australia.
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Estimates of roughly 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have been affected by the bush fires, with millions potentially dead. The number could be higher if small terrestrial animals such as frogs and insects and avian animals are also included. With some reports suggesting it could go up to 1 billion animals.
These violent fires are still raging on in Australia exacerbated by climate change. And have reported bringing many endangered animals to the brink of extinction.
Forest fires are very common in Australia, and many animals have inherent skills to survive such disasters. Kangaroos and wallabies are quick on their feet and can rush to safety. Burrowing animals such as possums, snakes, and birds are also at an advantage in these cases. As the former can easily burrow underground and the later can fly to safety.
Following are some of the Australian wildlife that is believed to suffer the most damage due to this ecological catastrophe
Australian koalas are already considered a vulnerable species, but with the bushfires. Estimates of 8000 koalas are believed to have perished in the fires in New South Wales areas alone. Koalas are slow-moving animals and their usual strategy to escape any danger is to climb up a tree.
Which is now trapping them in the fire-ravaged forest. They were also concentrated in Kangaroo Island, which was also ravaged by the fires. And thousands of koalas are being displaced by this loss of habitat. Fortunately, many koalas have been rescued with burned hands and legs
The dunnart and glossy back cockatoo are both a unique subspecies that were native to Australia’s Kangaroo Island. The dunnart is a tiny marsupial or a kind of rodent. And the glossy back cockatoo is a kind of parrot. Two-thirds of the Kangaroo Island was burned down in the bushfires. And this is feared to have killed more than 60% of both of the species.
These species of honeyeater birds with a unique yellow body have been a critically endangered species since 1994. And the population at present is reported to be only 500 birds. With the bushfires, these numbers are expected to plummet even further. The bush fires have destroyed many key habitats of the bird such as Capertee Valley. And Lake Cathie in southeastern Australia.