“Australia is being ravaged by the worst wildfires seen in decades, with large swaths of the country devastated since the fire season began in late July,” as reported by CNN.
The fires have been a direct cause of death for at least 28 people across the country of Australia (as of January 2020), and has caused the burning down of 1,588 homes in New South Wales as approximately 17.9 million acres in total have been destroyed in the state.
Apart from the human death and property damage, another devastating effect of the wildfires has been the cause of death for a large portion of Australia’s diverse wildlife population. “It is estimated that about half a billion animals have been affected by the fires across NSW, with millions likely dead — and that’s a conservative estimate.” That number of total “animals affected could be as high as one billion nationwide, according to ecologists from the University of Sydney.” This figure includes birds, reptiles, and mammals, but does not include insects or frogs.
Among the animals who have been killed, it is estimated that “almost a third of koalas in NSW may have been killed in the fires, and a third of their habitat has been destroyed,” according to Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
It should also be noted that these estimates are quite conservative as because the fires are still ravishing the areas of interest, a full study has not been able to take place. Additionally, it should be noted that it is not currently believed that the Koala population is in danger of extinction due to their wide area of existence across the continent.
In response, many organizations across the globe have taken action to help with efforts to stop the fires and to restore the damage for humans and animals alike.
The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, Virginia has played a role in financially assisting the efforts in that it recently hosted an event called “Act For Australia.”
The event was held with the purpose of not only raising funds, but to educate the public on their Australian animals and to raise awareness for what is occurring in their native country and how it is affecting them.
The zoo asked for donations from visitors under the incentive of receiving a behind the scenes tour of the zoo’s Australian exhibits for $20 as reported by WAVY news.
If you would like to help, you can still donate by texting ‘WALLABY’ to 435-06.