‘Urgent help’ needed for 113 species after fires

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An injured koala at a vet service on Kangaroo IslandImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Koalas are one of the 19 mammal species needing urgent help

Australia has identified 113 animal species which will need “urgent help” after their numbers and habitats were devastated by recent bushfires.

In a welcome finding, there appeared to be no extinctions, said the government.

But almost all species on the list had lost at least 30% of their habitat due to the mammoth blazes in the south and east over Australia’s summer.

Koalas and wallabies, as well as bird, fish and frog species are among those needing the most help, said experts.

Researchers had previously estimated thatmore than 1 billion animals may have perished in the fires, which scorched large swathes of temperate forest and grassland.

Yellow-bellied glider

Getty

Species worst-hit by the fires

  • 13birds

  • 20reptiles

  • 5inverterbrates

  • 19mammals

  • 22crayfish

  • 17fish

Source: Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel

A provisional list, released on Tuesday, narrowed a field of hundreds of fire-affected species to those needing the most urgent conservation action. It was drawn up by the government’sWildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel.

The panel found some highly threatened species faced “imminent risk of extinction” because almost all of their habitat had been destroyed. These included the Pugh’s frog, Blue Mountains water skink and the Kangaroo Island dunnart.

Image copyright
Jody Gates/SA Department for Environment and Water

Image caption

The Kangaroo Island dunnart is endemic to the South Australian island devastated by a major blaze in January

Image copyright
ENVIROGOV/DAVE HUNTER

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