It’s with heavy hearts we share this gut-wrenching footage showing the catastrophic impact of the Australia wildfires — but it’s something you need to see.
For those who don’t know, the apocalyptic inferno that’s currently sweeping across the country has led to a staggering amount of wildlife death: according to CBS News, ecologists estimate nearly half a billion animals have been killed since the fires started several months ago.
In a recent statement, the University of Sydney said that approximately 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have been lost since the fires set ablaze in September, adding that the actual number is likely “substantially higher.”
Now, reading about that kind of devastation is one thing; seeing it is, of course, much worse. A recording of the damage, obtained by CBS News, shows masses of burned koala bodies lying on the ground while kangaroo try to flee the flames in the forests.
The footage (below) will be disturbing to many:
DEVASTATING: This heartbreaking video shows the bodies of dead animals lining the side of an Australian road. It is estimated nearly half a billion animals have been killed in the raging wildfires across Australia https://t.co/78tAiOpeab pic.twitter.com/BNh0Vmbepb
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 6, 2020
The blaze hasn’t just wiped out wildlife. According to the Associated Press, homes have been destroyed, about 12.35 million acres of land have burned, and at least 24 people have been killed.
The astonishingly high estimate of animal fatalities is based on a 2007 report for the World Wildlife Fund Australia, where researchers found that clearing around 1.6 million acres of forest would have ended in the deaths of approximately 104 million native vertebrates.
The University of Sydney’s Professor Christopher Dickman told CBS News on Friday:
“Not all animals in the burned areas would necessarily be killed directly by the fires — some would fly off, others would go underground, others may find a small unburnt refuge under rocks. Still, the numbers of animals directly affected by the fires are clearly huge, and prior research indicates that in severely burned areas, the resulting lack of shelter, lack of food, and incursions by invasive predators lead to further drastic but indirect reductions of animal numbers.”
As seen in the video, Koalas have been particularly vulnerable to the blaze, as they don’t really have the ability to move fast enough to flee the flames. Ecologists said about 8,000 of the marsupials are believed to have died since the fires started.
Sussan Ley, Down Under’s environment minister, told reporters:
“Up to 30% of their habitat has been destroyed. We’ll know more when the fires are calmed down and a proper assessment can be made.”
Not only are beloved species like kangaroos and koalas now at risk, many rare plant species are feared to have disappeared completely due to these “supercharged” brush-fires — and many residents are blaming it on conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison‘s lack of sufficient action against climate change.
Sydney Mayor Clover Moore said:
“The compelling issue here is climate change… As the driest continent on Earth, we’re at the forefront of accelerating global warming. What is happening is a wake-up call for our governments to start making effective contributions to reducing global emissions… It’s our national governments that are failing us.”
But we can still fight against climate change.
According to ActiveSustainability.com, there are many ways we can help the environment in our everyday lives, including reducing emissions (using sustainable transportation, like bicycling or public transit); saving energy; reducing, reusing, and recycling; trying to eat a low-carbon diet (low meat consumption, eat food that is local and in season); and, of course, making demands from our governments!
As for helping out the people — and wildlife — of Australia, you can donate to the Australian Red Cross‘ Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund; give to GIVIT, the Australian organization that matches donated goods with items that are specifically requested by victims of the fires; or give to the Salvation Army Australia. It’s so easy, even Kim Kardashian West can do it!
Let’s not let these millions of animals die in vain, Perezcious readers. Help fight climate change now!
[Image via WENN/CBS News]