Among the endangered creatures are the southern corroboree frog in the alps, the regent honeyeater in the Blue Mountains, and the western ground parrot on Cape Arid in Western Australia. Others under extreme pressure include the eastern ground parrot, which is believed to have lost all its Victoria habitat, and the Kangaroo Island dunnart. Prof Sarah Legge, of the Australian National University, warned the future for the Kangaroo Island dunnart was “not good”.
Among the species endangered are the southern corroboree frog in the alps
The news is said to be particularly devastating for the animals that cannot fly to escape the nightmare fires that have ravaged the island.
University of Sydney ecologist Chris Dickman estimated more than a billion animals have been killed in the deadly bush fires which have destroyed almost 11 hectares across the country.
On their website, WWF released a statement saying: “The catastrophic megafires sweeping our country are greatly exacerbating the species extinction crisis we’re already facing. This is just the beginning.”
On Monday, the government announced $50m to help rescue and protect wildlife affected by the crisis and environment groups released a list of fauna species for which they hold immediate concerns.
The news is said to be particularly devastating for the animals that cannot fly to escape.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” James Trezise, a policy analyst at the Australian Conservation Foundation, says.
“The number of species and ecosystems that have been severely impacted across their ranges is almost certain to be much higher, especially when factoring in less well-known species of reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.”
There are also grave concerns for the Koala’s who lost their homes in New South Wales after fires tore through key Koala habitat areas such as Port Macquarie.
It will take a fair amount of time before the real tool is known, and while some ecosystems will recover in a few years, others could decades to heal.
The catastrophic megafires sweeping our country are greatly exacerbating species extinction crisis.
Euan Ritchie, a wildlife ecologist at Deakin University is concerned about the probability that some areas will burn again in the future.
He said: “To really assess the impact of these fires properly, we need to get into areas once it’s safe to do so, and begin the work of surveying plant and animal populations.
“Of great concern is that some of these burnt areas may burn again in the near future, due to the impacts of climate change.”
It is just one of 135 bush fires that have killed at least 28 people and an estimated one billion animals, and damaged or destroyed nearly 3,000 homes since September.
The Australian Academy of Science said the government should put in place long-term plans for a more dangerous future.
“As a nation, we must deal with extreme weather events more effectively than we currently do. As such events become more frequent and severe, we must adapt Australia and Australians accordingly, as well as strengthen mitigation efforts,” the academy’s president John Shine said in a statement.
“The academy is resolute that the response to the bushfires must extend beyond the immediate and essential need to rebuild and recover,” he said.
Some of the burnt areas may burn again in the near future,
“All the while, Australia must take stronger action as its part of the worldwide commitment to limit global warming to 1.5C above the long-term average to reduce the worst impacts of climate change.”
Prof Ben Garrod, an evolutionary biologist at the University of East Anglia, said: “With habitat loss, reduced food availability and possible increased predation, the full effects of these fires will not be felt for months or years to come, but will certainly cause the extinction for some of Australia’s most iconic, fragile and beautiful inhabitants.”