Feb 12, 2020 - Energy & Environment

113 animal species need urgent help after Australia's bushfires

Humane Society International Crisis Response Specialist, Kelly Donithan (R) checks an injured Koala she just rescued on Kangaroo Island on January 15
Humane Society specialists check an injured Koala rescued from South Australia's Kangaroo Island fires on Jan. 15. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images

113 animal species need an "emergency intervention" to help support their recovery after they lost at least 30% of their habitat to Australia's bushfires — and many lost substantially more than that.

Details: That's according to a report released by Australia's Environment Department, which consulted a panel of experts to identify species in need of urgent help — including the koala.

  • Other species, like the Kangaroo Island Dunnart, Pugh's Frog and the Blue Mountains Water Skink, are at "imminent risk of extinction because most of their range has been burnt, they were already highly threatened, and they are susceptible to fire and its after effects," the report states.

By the numbers: 13 species of bird, 19 mammals, 20 reptiles, 17 frogs, five invertebrates, 22 spiny crayfish and 17 freshwater fish species have been identified as in need of "urgent conservation action" on the provisional list.

The big picture: Researches estimate more than 1 billion animals have perished in the bushfires that ravaged Australia since September — including over 800 million in the state of New South Wales.

What they're saying: Sarah Legge, a wildlife ecologist on the expert panel that contributed to the report, told the Guardian the list could change as assessments continued.

  • "As we learn more about how species have responded on the ground, we will improve this list," she said. "More species might go on to it, but I’m hoping some will come off."

Go deeper: Australia fires: "Widespread devastation across the ecosystem"

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