About 3 billion animals harmed in Australian bushfires, WWF says

Clay Curtis
July 30, 2020

After years of drought made the Australian bush unusually dry, the country battled one of its worst bushfire seasons ever from September 2019 to March 2020, resulting in 34 human deaths and almost 3,000 homes lost.

Almost three billion animals including mammals, reptiles, birds and frogs were killed or forced from their homes amid Australia's deadly Black Summer of bushfires in 2019-20.

During the peak of the crisis in January, researchers had actually approximated that 1.25 billion animals had actually been eliminated in New South Wales and Victoria alone.

"It's hard to think of another event anywhere in the world in living memory that has killed or displaced that many animals", he said.

Dermot O'Gorman, the chief executive of WWF-Australia, said: "This ranks as one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history".

This includes 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds and 51 million frogs which are thought to have been in the path of the fires.

The mega blazes, which swept across every Australian state, also killing at least 33 people.

After several years of drought in regions of Australia, the country's forests were left unusually dry, leading to one of the country's worst-ever bushfire seasons, with fires blazing from June 2019 all the way to March 2020, which also led to 34 human deaths and nearly 3,000 homes being destroyed.

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Prof Dickman in January had estimated more than one billion animals perished in the Black Summer fires.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an worldwide non-governmental organization founded in 1961 that works in the field of wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment.

"We need to be looking at how quickly can we decarbonise, how quickly can we stop our manic land-clearing".

The report, which analyzed the impacts of fire on 11.46 million hectares of land, primarily in the southeast and southwest of Australia, said not all animals were killed directly by the flames and heat.

Lily Van Eeden, the project leader from the University of Sydney, said that the research was the first continent-wide analysis of the effect of bushfires on animals.

The federal government vowed A$50 m (₤27 m; $35 m) to wildlife and environment healing, however ecologists have actually contacted Australia to enhance its preservation laws. "We land clear at a rate that's one of the highest in the world", he says.

The final version of the report is expected to be published by the end of August, WWF added.

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