Feb 12, 2020 - Energy & Environment

113 animal species need urgent help after Australia's bushfires

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"

Go deeper

In photos: Australia endures floods, dust storms and brown rain as fires rage

Workers clean a court after overnight rain on day four of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne Thursday morning local time. Photo: William West/AFP via Getty Images

Soaring temperatures in the Australian state of New South Wales of over 100°F have triggered fresh bushfires, while dust has produced brown rain in Victoria.

What's happening: Dust storms have been pummeling parts of southeast Australia for days. A massive bushfire in the Australian Capital Territory impacted flights at Canberra Airport, where hail the size of golf balls struck earlier in the week. The storms come days after floods hit southeast Queensland, which has also been impacted by the fires. Here's what's been happening, in photos.

See photosArrowUpdated Jan 23, 2020

Australia's deadly fires: What you need to know

The Australian flag flies under red skies from fires on Jan. 4 in Bruthen, Victoria. Photos: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

The Orroral Valley fire has burned through nearly 25% of the district that's home to Australia's capital, News.com.au reports, after ACT Emergency Controller Georgeina Whelan said the fire was rapidly growing into the south east on Saturday.

The latest: The Orroral fire grew from 81,544 acres to at least 129,073 acres on Saturday, based on Whelan's initial statement, and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr's following estimate. Whelan said the Orroral fire is expected to move "well into" New South Wales, which creates potential for it to reach and merge with other bushfires in the area.

Australia fires: "Widespread devastation across the ecosystem"

Myalls, an orphaned red-necked wallaby joey, has been recovering well in WIRES' care since being treated for burns. Photo: WIRES

The bush has fallen silent on the New South Wales South Coast of Australia. Massive fires swept through over the new year and pockets remain. Firefighters are still trying to contain blazes in some places. Elsewhere, the land is smoldering.

The impact: The deadly fires have caused "widespread devastation across the ecosystem," according to Kasey Harris, a volunteer with Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES), an NSW charity.