Birds, reptiles and mammals … In all, 480 million animals have perished since September, the date of the fires that still ravage the south-east of Australia , estimates the University of Sydney. A figure that should increase further with the arrival of a heat peak on Saturday, which could stir up fires, according to the Australian site News.com .
One hundred and thirty fires burn the region and several million hectares of forest have already gone up in smoke . Images relayed on social networks show kangaroos trying to escape the walls of flames or cockatoos falling from the trees. One of the most fragile species in these forests is the koala, which moves very slowly and feeds on eucalyptus leaves, a highly flammable tree.
The extent of the damage “probably never known”
As a result, 8,000 koalas were killed, that’s a third of the population of this region , according to Sussan Ley, Australian Minister for the Environment. The minister said that the actual figures for animal mortality would not be known until the fires had died down.
Stand Up for Nature, an alliance of 13 associations, calls for an immediate end to the felling of trees in the indigenous forests of the region, until we can take stock of the animal and plant losses. “The impact on many species has been extreme and continues. The full extent of the wildlife losses will probably never be known, but they will certainly be in the millions, “warned the NGO in a letter to the Prime Minister of the region, Gladys Berejiklian. “The effects of the catastrophic fires were so great that it would be unthinkable to allow additional losses. ”