Sydney University ecologists estimate at least 480 million mammals, birds and caterpillars have died since the September fires broke out • Numbers are expected to rise
Kuala bailout during Australia's fires // Photo: AFP
Unimaginable price of Australia's huge fires: Sydney University ecologists estimate that half a billion animals have been killed in continental wildfires, which until now have forced thousands of people to evacuate from their homes.
News Corp. Australia reports that ecologists estimate that 480 million mammals, birds and caterpillars have died since September and numbers are expected to rise following the devastating wildfires in Victoria and the South Coast.
Mark Graham, an ecologist at the National Council for Conservation, told the Australian Parliament that "the fires burned extremely high and there was a large mortality of animals living on the trees.
Graham added that a large part of the koal population was destroyed by fires "because they have no ability to move fast enough to move away."
Reuters reported this week that, according to officials, 30 percent of the koala colony in the state's northeastern coast has perished in fires.
Last Thursday, the New South Wales government declared a state of emergency that took effect Friday, in light of the anticipation of the fires intensifying over the weekend.
The fires near the town of Morroya Australia // Photo: AFP
Widespread continental areas in flames // Photo: IP
Kangaroos escape the fires // Photo: AP
Kuala bailout during the fires // Photo: AFP