Experts estimate that roughly 1 billion animals have died from the recent, catastrophic Australian bushfires. Among them, an estimated 8,000 koalas have perished.
Considering that Australia is home to some of the most iconic fauna in the world– kangaroos, koalas, quokkas, wombats, kookaburras– to name a few, this monumental loss in biodiversity is especially upsetting.
However, it may be the loss of the lesser known, smaller flora and fauna, that will hit ecosystem health the hardest. Without smaller animals and vegetation, surviving larger animals will find themselves with nowhere to live and nothing to eat.
Therefore, without extreme effort and innovation in restoring these ravaged ecosystems, the Australian animal death toll may continue to rise.
And it’s not even the height of Australian summer yet.
Although this spring has been a drought-ridden scorcher for our friends down under, it is likely that temperatures will continue to rise, with no rain in sight.
Scientists point to climate change as an exacerbating factor in the magnitude of these bushfires. Australia has historically suffered from bushfires in their summer season, but the record-breaking temperatures and droughts are dampening recovery efforts.
To make matters worse, the bushfires have emitted 250 million tons of CO2.
Want to help the effort? Check out this article in the Guardian on where to donate.
Interested in the relationship between the bushfires and climate change? Click here.