More than 1 billion animals are feared dead in Australia’s bushfire crisis.
The fires have destroyed more than 2,000 homes, and burned more than 30,000 square miles, across the states of New South Wales and Victoria. They have killed 25 people.
An earlier estimate of the number of animals killed compiled by Professor Chris Dickman, an ecologist at the University of Sydney, limited to the fires in New South Wales, put the number at 480 million. The newer number includes a number of species excluded from that stat.
‘A conservative figure’
Prof Dickman told HuffPost: “The original figure – the 480 million – was based on mammals, birds, and reptiles for which we do have densities, and that figure now is a little bit out of date.
“It’s over 800 million given the extent of the fires now – in New South Wales alone. If 800 million sounds a lot – it’s not all the animals in the firing line.”
Prof Dickman added that including bats, frogs and invertebrates, losses would exceed1 billion ‘without any doubt at all’.
“Over a billion would be a very conservative figure,” he said.