World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has issued a gut-wrenching report that about 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds and 51 million frogs were killed or displaced by the Australian bushfire, the country’s worst in decades.
According to WWF, when the fires were still blazing, the estimated number of affected animals stood at 1.25 billion.
“This ranks as one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history,” said WWF-Australia Chief Executive Officer Dermot O’Gorman in a statement.
The project leader Lily Van Eeden, from the University of Sydney, said the research was the first continent-wide analysis of animals impacted by the bushfires, and “other nations can build upon this research to improve understanding of bushfire impacts everywhere”.
The total number included animals which were displaced because of destroyed habitats and now faced lack of food and shelter or the prospect of moving to habitat that was already occupied, Reuters reports.
The main reason for raising the number of animal casualties was that researchers had now assessed the total affected area, rather than focusing on the most affected states, they said.
Australia has battled one of its worst bushfire seasons ever from September 2019 to March 2020, resulting in 34 human deaths and nearly 3,000 homes lost.
Statistics reveal that the bush-fire destroyed more than 11 million hectares (37 million acres) across the Australian southeast, equal to about half the area of the United Kingdom.
NEWS/PHOTO SOURCE: Reuters/ Science And Technology Australia