16:16 Tuesday, 28 July 2020
It’s been declared among the ‘worst wildlife disasters’ in history.
The true extent of the impact the deadly Australian bushfires on the nation’s wildlife populations is starting to come to light.
The devastating fires raged for months at the end of 2019 and early 2020, killing 33 people in all and destroying more than 3,000 homes.
However, a new report from the World Wildlife Fund really encapsulates just how bad the natural disaster was for the animal inhabitants of Australia.
According to the findings, nearly three billion animals – mammals, reptiles, birds, and frogs – were killed or displaced by Australia’s devastating 2019-20 bushfires.
Almost three times an earlier estimate released in January.
Broken down, some 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds and 51 million frogs were all victimsied by the blazes that engulfed the country.
”It’s a difficult number to comprehend.”
“The interim findings are shocking,” WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said in a statement.
“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 3 billion native animals being in the path of the fires it is absolutely huge. It’s a difficult number to comprehend,” said University of Sydney Professor Chris Dickman, the scientist overseeing the project by 10 scientists from Australian universities.
Previous early estimates said that around 1.25 billion animals were impacted. However, that calculation only focused mainly on the states of New South Wales and Victoria.
Lily Van Eeden, who is leading the project, said the latest estimates takes in a much larger area about 11.46 million hectares, which is about the size of England…just for some perspective.
The final report is set to be completed by the end of August 2020.