As an environmental emergency has engulfed our nation, animals have been helpless.
From bees to native birds, our wildlife has – like us – faced unprecedented conditions in their habitats, causing inconceivable damage.
They too have suffered through the “apocalyptic” conditions that have been likened to “an atomic bomb”. The sheer vulnerability of wild animals in the face of the bushfires has left many of us haunted by the animals’ lack of ability to survive in the crisis.
A number of photos have emerged that show the dying and desperate fauna, as well as many incredible tales of how some of the animals have survived.
Here are 14 critical facts about the impact this national bushfire crisis has had on our animals.
- More than one billion animals have died in the bushfires nationwide. This includes thousands of koalas, kangaroos and birds.
- Ecologists estimate that at least 250 threatened species have had their habitats burned.
- Up to 30 per cent of koalas in NSW have died, as confirmed by Australia’s federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
- Scientists believe at least 20 species have been pushed closer to extinction this bushfire season, including the long-footed potoroo.
- The Federal Agriculture Minister fears around 100,000 cattle and sheep have perished as a result of the bushfires this season. Many farmers have had to shoot their stock who were injured by the fires.
- An ecologist told Mamamia that many animals have been able to survive the bushfire crisis because they found shelter in the burrows built by wombats.
- Six million hectares of threatened species habitat has burned, ecologists have calculated.
- President of the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, Sue Ashton, told Mamamia in November last year that as a result of the fires, koalas are “functionally extinct”.
- The Government has announced $50 million for an Emergency Wildlife and Habitat Recovery Package to support immediate work to protect wildlife in the wake of the wildfires.
- The Australian Veterinary Association has asked the Government to airdrop food to starving animals who may die otherwise. They are yet to hear a response.
- One fundraiser for WIRES has raised nearly $15 million alone.
- In NSW, an estimated 6,000 hives and millions of bees have been burnt, says NSW Apiarists Association president Stephen Targett.
- As Australia's wildlife has suffered mass destruction, a United Nations committee has warned we have 10 years to protect the world's biodiversity from mass extinction.
- In October, 240 leading scientists wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, warning that the nation is "amid an extinction crisis" and hence asking to strengthen our environmental laws to save our wildlife. The PM did not respond.
As a media company, Mamamia has never and will never publish any articles or opinions that deny the existence or impact of climate change. Research shows that at least 97 per cent of climate scientists agree: climate change is real and driven by human activity. We vow to choose decades of rigorous, peer-reviewed research over falsehoods that will only stall action on the climate emergency.
Feature Image: Ryan Pollock.
Sign up for the "Mamamia Daily" newsletter. Your morning hit of the top news stories, to be consumed with a coffee in hand.