The Australian government has said citing new research that “there appear to be no extinctions” associated with the bush fires. While that is a good a news the reality remains that at least 30% of animal habitats have lost in the flames that had engulfed Australia for the past couple of months.
Previously it was estimated that more than a billion animals may have perished in the fires. Now a new provisional list drawn up by Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel was released on Tuesday. It has narrowed down the fire affected species to identify those animals that need urgent attention.
113 animals have been classified into this category of “urgent attention” needed by the panel. These are the ones that were on an “imminent risk of extinction” due to habitat loss. These included the Pugh’s frog, Blue Mountains water skink and the Kangaroo Island dunnart.
Species such as the koala and the smoky mouse were listed as in need of “emergency intervention” to support their recovery. They too lost a significant area of their habitat. “Many [species] were considered secure and not threatened before the fires, but have now lost much of their habitat and maybe imperilled,” said the panel in its report.
The next iteration of the list will have the names of plants and other invertebrates according to the Australian Environment Minister Sussan Ley. She expressed that assessing the true scale of the devastation had been limited due to ongoing blazes in some areas and smouldering grounds.
Australia is working on its way to provide rehabilitation and habitat recovery of the affected animals. Last month, the government has pledged A$50m for this cause; to be spent on animal treatment, food drops and pest animal control programmes