500 million animals lost in Australian bushfires in 2019

500 million animals lost in Australian bushfires in 2019

500 million animals lost in Australian bushfires in 2019

Australian bushfires : The true scope of the disaster is emerging, with ecologists reporting a heartbreaking mass loss of animals.

Sydney, NSW – The true cost of the bushfires on the Australian environment and ecology is only just coming to light.

Ecologists from the University of Sydney now estimate some 480 million mammals, birds & reptiles have been lost by the devastating bushfires in 2019.

There are now fears entire species of animals and plant life may be lost forever, with scientists moving to understand the full scope of destruction.

The estimates include some 8,000 koalas lost in the flames. About 30% of the entire koala population of NSW’s mid-north coast region has perished. There were only 28,000 koalas in the entire region before the fires began.

The mortality rate of koalas from these fires has been particularly high.

According to Mark Graham, an ecologist with the Nature Conservation Council, koalas “have no capacity to move fast enough to get away” from fires that spread from treetop to treetop.

Badly injured koala at Lake Innes Nature Reserve

“The fires have burnt so hot and so fast that there has been significant mortality of animals in the trees, but there is such a big area now that is still on fire and still burning that we will probably never find the bodies,” Mr Graham told a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry earlier this month.

Koala rescued in the middle of a bushfire.

The fires, across much of NSW, as well as SE Queensland and parts of South Australia, have burned an area the size of Belgium in just a few months.

Fires seen from an EU Space Agency satellite north-west of Sydney.

Large areas of bush land surrounding Sydney, including beloved national parks and areas containing rare and endangered species, have also been lost.

A kangaroo flees flames near Lithgow in NSW

In the Blue Mountains, 50% of heritage reserves have been lost in November and December alone. The UNESCO World Heritage Listed region is home to highly endangered species, including a shrub called the Kowmung hakea, a lizard known as the Blue Mountains water skink, the Wollemi pine, a “living fossil” discovered in 1994.

Bushfires rage near the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains

Ancient Forrests Lost

48% of the iconic Gondwana reserves, which include rainforests that have existed since the time of the dinosaurs, have now burned.

Ancient forrest lost

The Royoal Botanic Gardens in Sydney estimate that in some areas, up to 30 rare plant species and 30 rare animal species may have been lost.

“Many of these trees have thin bark that does not provide protection against fire,” Maurizio Rossetto, an evolutionary ecologist told Science Mag.

Rossetti is particularly concerned about three species, each of which has just a few hundred remaining trees “tightly grouped in a single population.”

Breaking News Sydney@SydneyBrk

Hell on Earth: Bushfire explodes today west of Sydney

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Species Previously immune to fire now under threat.

Even species that may have previously survived in bushfire season are now under threat.

Animals and insects that exist in wetlands are exposed to burning bush thanks to the long drought in Australia.

Ecologist Phillip Gibbons was worried about a highly biodiverse area, the Tallaganda National Park.

“The issue is a lot of species can survive wildfire because they can retreat to unburnt refugia in the landscape, and the worry is that after a long period of dry that the moist gullies in Tallaganda have dried sufficiently that now they can be burnt in the wildfire,” Professor Gibbons told ABC.

The park is home to 13 threatened species, including the scarlet robin, the olive whistler, the spotted tail quoll and the Tallaganda velvet worm.

The velvet worm, which has existed for millennia, has gradually been eliminated from the rest of Australia.

“That’s the only place in the world that you can find this species,” he said.

“The worm … actually evolved half a billion years ago.”

Rare bird species may be gone

Ross Crates, an ecologist at the Australian National University in Canberra, notes the Blue mountains are also the “final stronghold” of a critically endangered bird, the regent honeyeater.

Just 250 to 400 of these striking black-and-yellow nectar feeders remain, and an estimated 80% of breeding pairs nest in the Greater Blue Mountains.

Potoroos under threat

The northern long-nosed potoroo, a hare-size wallaby that feeds on truffles that grow around the roots of gum trees may also be nearly gone.

Norther long-nosed Potoroos may be lost forever.

Found in the Ngunya Jargoon Indigenous Protected Area, rangers have returned after fires ripped through the area, to find no sign of the critically endangered marsupial.

Climate Change

While bushfires have always been part of the Australian environment, it’s clear climate change is making things far worse.

Rare plants and animals, already under pressure from human activity, are now facing extinction thanks to the intensity and now frequency of bushfires.

Australian, prime minister Scott Morrison, has consistently said it was “no credible scientific evidence” linking climate change with the fires. This has been rejected by climate scientists, who have said politicians are “burying their heads in the sand while the world is literally burning around them”.

Related: Sydney Fires – Images show scope of bushfire disaster.

Three Sisters Bushfire: Iconic Park under threat

22 thoughts on “500 million animals lost in Australian bushfires in 2019

  1. It’s horribly depressing; of course the animals will be the first to go as climate change continues it’s rampage. No chance humans will be wiped out until much farther on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sigh. It is. If so much habitat wasn’t already taken by 8 billion+ humans, the effects might not be so bad for animals. Fires are a natural occurrence and have been for millennia. Humans, not so much in modern times.

    Yes, climate change is exacerbating it, but climate change is caused by humans. It’s human activity rampaging that is causing climate change. It bothers me that climate change is treated as something separate from human activity, as if it were another weather phenomenon that came about by itself.

    I am not very hopeful that humans will change their lifestyles, because most seem terribly unwilling to give up anything at all – just looking for magic bullets like kelp-eating cattle, and alternative energy that will support increasing usage.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Basically the fires are caused by obviously drought in high temperatures but also the fact that the Greens have stopped any possibility of back burning through the winter to reduce the severity of the fires a bit ironic that the Greens always want to protect animals and things that their policies are causing these fires to be so much worse. The aboriginals knew how to control this problem and they can consistently burn the bush so that when I bushfire was set alight by lightning or otherwise, when it came to a previously burnt area it went out so koala bears etc for koala bears climb to the top of the trees and survived now the tops of the trees are burning so they can’t possibly survive!.
      There is so much BS about climate change causing fires and the greens are able to say not me not me but it is them they are destroying Australia as I know it and it is very very depressing

      Liked by 1 person

      • Please……….. the Greens have NO political power and have not stopped anything. It is the regular person who wants to live in the bush..oh fine guys and gals, but you are destroying the ecosystem there too as your mates and families join you and build little towns and communities..and roads, and pollution….its every person who drives a car, uses plastics, air conditioning and expects to have a big long shower once, twice a day….BUT we are stuck with this lifestyle..we have been led by major political parties controlled by business, who are catering to the increasing demand for comfort from the population, ( which by the way should be limited to one child per person at the most ) ,world wide, into a world where our existence depends on activities that are trashing the planet. The solution?? No f’kin idea…

        Liked by 2 people

      • I agree with every word. The greens and their policies are the cause of all these animals dying


  3. ^^I should have written that fires are a natural occurrence and have been for millennia, as well as drought. Some years will be hotter and dryer than others, and some years fire will be worse.

    I hate the pop-culturization of these things, where we seem to think that there is never going to be any variation at all and if there is, point the finger at a nebulous concept of ‘climate change!’ while pointing ‘out there’ somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: 500 million animals lost in Australian bushfires in 2019 While Climate Deniers Fiddle | WebWeaverBlog

  5. 8,000 koalas lost – the mind boggles. The numbers don’t seem fathomable. Plus rare plants, nectar feeders and that cute little potoroos. It’s all fine and dandy to attribute it to climate change, but what are people doing about it? I still think individual efforts do count, if more would do it. Calling people ‘virtue signalers’ doesn’t give much hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. While Australia is burningf fire works go ahead. The World has lost its moral compampass. The poor animals are burnt alive, my heart akes.


  7. I am terribly saddened by the loss of so many. I read in the October National Geographic magazine, that the list of endangered animals in the world is getting longer, and not enough is being done to curb the losses. The losses in Australia is huge.


  8. I live in the UK, but am appalled as I see these events unfolding on the other side of the world. My hopes and prayers are with everyone – animal or vegetable. Efforts need to be made to improve the environment immediately if not sooner!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Really the Ones in Power need to be jailed as criminals, I am not joking, all current politicians need to have all their wages $ given to save what’s left and given to those who have lost so much and especially the animals! “Time for a peaceful Revolution!! The evil of dry rivers and big corporate stealing waters from Rivers, Etc…etc….!!


  10. Its sad how we are fighting wanting wanting and all them poor babys just want to live . Im ashamed to be a human. I will volunteer to go help the poir babys . Im sure i can help do anything. We all right now should not be fighting but pulling together to help . We all could make this end if we work together to help these poir baby that need us right now . Are troops should be over helping this fire we need them more for that then fighting .

    Liked by 1 person


    Liked by 1 person

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