Australian Bushfires Have Eliminated Entire Species, Including 25,000 Koalas

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Australian Bushfires Have Eliminated Entire Species, Including 25,000 Koalas

While the bushfire crisis in Australia is still spreading terror across the country, wildlife experts and conservationists are warning of the disastrous impact on animals, as the fires have wiped out entire species.


More specifically, a third of Kangaroo Island on the southern coast has been completely burnt and destroyed. Kangaroo Island is the country's third-largest island after Tasmania and Melville Island. The island is famous for its rich biodiversity and its nature reserves that protect the remnants of its natural vegetation and animals, with the best-known being Flinders Chase National Park, which is located at the very western end of this island.


Australian Bushfires Have Eliminated Entire Species, Including 25,000 Koalas

Ecologists fear that dunnarts and glossy black cockatoos are among the species that have been entirely wiped out.


Dunnarts are narrow-footed marsupials the size of a European mouse. They have a largely insectivorous diet: They're carnivorous and actively hunt during the night, catching and eating crickets, spiders, beetles, small reptiles, amphibians, and even small mammals. Nineteen different species are found in habitats from tropical savanna grasslands to desert sandhills and dense forests of Australia's southeast and southwest.


Australian Bushfires Have Eliminated Entire Species, Including 25,000 Koalas

Ecologists are currently trying to rescue any surviving dunnarts from the devastated island "before they are completely gone," according to the Independent.


Heidi Groffen, an ecologist and coordinator in the nonprofit Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife, pointed out that the tiny mouse-sized dunnarts are helpless due to their small size and inability to outrun the fast-moving blaze which laid waste to their habitat.


Only 300 dunnarts lived on the island, yet Groffen hopes that some managed to find refuge among rocky crevices and other small spaces.


Glossy black cockatoos are also faced with an uncertain future after their habitat was burnt to ashes. Although the cockatoos fared better than the dunnarts thanks to their ability to escape, they might starve to death as they lost their source of food on the island.


The glossy black cockatoo is the smallest member of the subfamily Calyptorhynchinae found in eastern Australia. Its closest relative is the red-tailed black cockatoo.


Australian Bushfires Have Eliminated Entire Species, Including 25,000 Koalas

Conservationists had dedicated 25 years to restore the glossy black raven, but all of their efforts went up in smoke in the span of a week.



In the meantime, tens of thousands of koalas are feared to have died after the island burned. Experts estimate that half of the 50,000-strong local koala population has been eliminated—a tremendous loss, particularly because the local population of the marsupials is believed to be the only one free of chlamydia, which makes the island's koala's an "insurance population" for the species.


Shockingly, 87% of wildlife on the island continent is endemic to the country, which means that it can only be found in Australia.


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Thinking Humanity: Australian Bushfires Have Eliminated Entire Species, Including 25,000 Koalas
Australian Bushfires Have Eliminated Entire Species, Including 25,000 Koalas
While the bushfire crisis in Australia is still spreading terror across the country, wildlife experts and conservationists are warning of the disastrous impact on animals, as the fires have wiped out entire species.
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