Following the devastating bushfires that have burnt across Australia in recent weeks, it’s now believed that our koala population has been devastated even more than originally thought.
In mid November, fire raged through a critical breeding habitat for our native animal near Port Macquarie, leading Koala Conservation president Sue Ashton to claim that about 350 koalas had been incinerated by the blaze.
This number is believed to have increased by a devastating amount, as fires continued to burn through NSW, Queensland and South Australia. Wildlife rescuers have since said that around 1000 koalas have likely been killed.
Nicole Blums from The Rescue Collective, told News.com.au that rescuers are only just being allowed to enter some areas of bushfire territory and were shocked by the destruction and animal death.
“They’re just going in searching for life and they’re not finding a lot,” Ms Blums told the publication. “Nine times out of ten (the animals) need to be euthanised.”
Of the animals that are rescued, there’s only about 20 percent survival rate.
The new estimated figure of 1000 koala deaths comes as Ms Blums spoke with staff at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. Nearly 600 koalas were believed to be living in the area but following the fires, everything had been turned to ash.
“In other areas they’re finding (animal) carcasses,” she continued.
Those that have survived and haven’t been rescued yet face ongoing risks after the fires, including starvation and dehydration.
“There is nothing left – the grass, the insects, nothing is left.”
The Rescue Collective has been dropping off pallets of marsupial food on the ground in bushfire affected areas, while they are encouraging people to assist by leaving out water for animals.
The Rescue Collective is now raising funds for affected wildlife and is asking for donations of items such as wraps, veterinary items and other things that can assist with the care of injured animals.