Koala’s habitats were destroyed by ruthless fires. Scientists estimate that a third of the koala population will be lost. The Australian Government categorizes animals as “vulnerable”.
5 million hectares across Australia ended up in flames, of which 3.4 in the most affected area, New South Wales. Sky News reported in November that more than 350 koalas died in 70 fires across the state.
The coast of New South Wales alone is home to some 28,000 individuals, according to Australian Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
“We’ll know more when the fires are calmed down and a proper assessment can be made.” Ley said on ABC’s AMC radio show.
The Australia Koala Foundation estimated in early 2019 that 80,000 koalas remained in the country.
The Department of the Environment has provided $ 6 million for the care of burned and injured animals. Many of these mammals were brought to animal hospitals.
Cheyne Flanagan, Clinical Director at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, spoke about her experience with injured koalas: “It’s such a sad sound, hearing the cry of a burned koala. The poor animal gets virtually cooked, like being in a microwave, melting its fur. Burns are really very painful.”
Even though koalas are saved, they are not won yet. They adapt poorly to the new environment.
“The next, most difficult thing is how to reintroduce them into their habitat. You can’t pick up a koala that’s lived for several generations in one area and move it even 50km away. It needs the same area, the same type of trees, and it really is quite a complicated exercise – they’re not the easiest creatures to adapt to different circumstances,” Ley told Sydney Radio 2GB.
Chris Dickman, a professor of ecology in Sydney, told Daily Mail Australia that he estimated that around 480 million animals were killed in the fires.
In addition to fires, deforestation is another major threat to endangered koalas.
Source and credit: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/one-in-three-koalas-on-australias-east-coast-wiped-out-due-to-devastating-bushfires/, pixabay.com, flickr.com