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Australia Bushfire: Over billions of animals, insects have been killed in wildfire, say wildlife experts

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 9 January 2020, 16:53 IST

According to some leading wildlife experts. Over a billion animals and hundreds of billions of insects have been wiped out in bushfire all through New South Wales.

The number has further doubled from an original assess of 480 million fauna lost, as the land mass razed to the ground by unmanageable blazes expanded from 3 million to now 5 million in New South Wales.

Ecologist Chris Dickman from the University of Sydney stated, "for some species we're looking at imminent extinction".

"There will almost certainly be species of all geographical ranges and populations that are cooked before we've even had the chance to discover that they exist," Professor Dickman stated.

Flora and Fauna is put in jeopardy by more than just flames in a bushfire catastrophe, says David Lindenmayer, a professor from the Australian National University.

"Australian wildlife has to deal with four things: the incredibly fragile overheated periods before fires, the fire itself, the lack of habitat and food after the fire, and the fourth thing is the invasion of foxes and cats in these burnt areas," he said.

Professor Lindenmayer stated that there has never been a better instant to keep cats indoors overnight.

"It's easy pickings for them — cats can move up to 12 kilometres through areas that have just been burnt," he said.

Professor Dickman stated that the repercussion may mean "species that are rendered extinct, ecosystems that have been eroded to the point where they are completely changed, and habitat in a state of widespread impoverishment".

"The loss of life we've estimated for NSW is 800 million terrestrial animals, including birds and reptiles. But that figure doesn't include frogs, fish, bats and invertebrates," he said.

"Combining these figures [it] is likely well over a billion animals lost."

Professor Dickman further said invertebrates, which include butterflies, spiders and earthworms — hold a pivotal place in the ecosystem, providing pollination, seed dispersal, soil health, nutrient recycling and an essential food source for a large number of marsupials, birds and over 90 per cent of all lizards.

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First published: 9 January 2020, 16:53 IST