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500 MILLION animals dead during past 4 months due to bush fires in Australia #BushFires #animals #australia

Wild Fire Alert

There are concerns that entire species of plants and animals may have been wiped out by bushfires following estimations that 480 million animals may die as a result of the crisis.

Ecologists from the University of Sydney estimate almost half a billion mammals, birds and reptiles may have been lost since September.

They also say the figure may increase following the devastating fires which have ripped through Victoria and the NSW South Coast over the past couple of days, leaving several people dead or unaccounted for, razing scores of homes and leaving thousands stranded.

The estimation includes animals killed in the fires, but also through loss of habitat.

According to a statement from Sydney University, the co-author of the report, Professor Chris Dickman, a professor in Terrestrial Ecology, based the calulations on a 2007 report for the the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) on the impacts of Land Clearing on Australia Wildlife in NSW.

The university indicated that although these were estimates and there was no way of counting the actual toll, the estimations were obtained from published studies of mammals in NSW and reports of similar habitats in other parts of Australia.

Fires have been raging across NSW and Victoria, with millions of hectares of national park already burnt.

Harrowing scenes of kangaroos fleeing walls of fire, charred bodies of koalas and cockatoos falling dead out of trees have horrified the world as it tries to take in the scale of the unfolding disaster.

Koalas have been among the hardest hit of Australia’s native animals because they are slow moving and only eat leaves from the eucalyptus tree, which are filled with oil, making them highly flammable.

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100+ Cockatoos found dead ‘a mystery’ in Victoria, Australia

MORE than 100 Sulphur-crested cockatoos have been found dead in Victoria’s north-east, sparking an investigation.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning says the birds’ bodies were collected by wildlife officers near the Tatong township, close to Benalla, on Thursday.
A number of the birds — from a protected species — will be tested in hopes of determining their cause of death.
The department has also appealed for public information and warned Tatong residents they may come across even more dead birds over the Australia Day long weekend.
“It’s highly likely that the number of birds impacted by this incident will increase over the coming days,” the department’s Greg Chant said. Anyone found to have hunted, taken or destroyed protected wildlife can face “significant penalties”, including jail time, he added.
“Illegally destroying protected native wildlife is a serious environmental crime,” Mr Chant said.
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