Scientists have found Australian bushfires have killed or displaced three billion animals – that is roughly more lives than the combined population of India (1.33 billion) and China (1.44 billion) – since the wildfire started last year. This is an estimate almost three times the January count.
During the last scorching summer, just before the outbreak of novel coronavirus, almost every Australian state was devastated by its mega ‘Black Summer Fires.’
It is estimated to have killed or displaced at least 3 billion wildlife and left 33 people dead, destroy thousands of houses, and forced thousands to move from their homes across the country. The figure is indeed huge to comprehend.
Breaking down the animal lives lost, it would be 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds, and 51 million frogs, according to the WWF report.
“The interim findings are shocking,” WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said, adding: “it’s hard to think of another event anywhere in the world in living memory that has killed or displaced that many animals. This ranks as one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history.”
“When you think about nearly three billion native animals being in the path of the fires, it is absolutely huge – it’s a difficult number to comprehend,” Prof Chris Dickman who presided the report was quoted as saying.
Bushfires in Australia are a common occurrence that has for millions of years shaped the continent’s flora and fauna. However, the show of nature has taken the lives of hundreds of humans and billions of animals.
Widespread destruction by bushfires had earlier been recorded in history ever since one of the first recorded wildfires broke out in early February 1851 in Victoria which killed hundreds of people and billions of animals.
The BBC reports that the figure shocked the scientific community and the future of Australian wildlife is under an environmental threat.
The wild flames ravaged the native animals which included mammals, reptiles, birds, and frogs. Amongst the worst affected are the koalas and wallabies. When the animals lose their habitat, their suffering is the worst.
Experts say that the koalas and wallabies along with fish, birds, and frogs were the most who needed help. For a shortage of food and lack of shelter, the animals could not really escape the demonic fire, and chances of their survival were quite remote. Suffering was terrible.
In New South Wales and Victoria alone, about 1.25 billion animals had been killed in the month of January. New South Wales was put on a state of emergency in January.
However, a new estimate, taken on a wider area of about 11.46 million hectares of land, shows that the bushfires were actually raging with fury from September to February.
A New South Wales Upper House report says that koalas would face extinction before 2050 if the Australian Government fails to strengthen its conservation law.
The conservationists stated that the government needs to re-write the environmental laws to protect the habitats of koalas.
The government of Australia has promised A$50m towards the recovery project of wildlife. A royal commission probe is being held for the scorching summer fires, the report of which is due in October, according to the BBC.
(Cover image courtesy of Bruce Detorres via Flickr)