Hundreds Of Koalas Feared Burned Alive In NSW Bushfires
A massive bushfire has burned through more than 2,000 hectares of land on the New South Wales mid-north coast.
While there were fears that homes could be under threat, a new fear has arisen.
Animal welfare workers are worried that hundreds of koalas could have been burned alive in the fires that have gripped Port Macquarie over the last few days.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital president Sue Ashton told AAP: "The beauty of this particular population is that it's so genetically diverse that it's of national significance.
"A lot of the koalas are being mixed and cross-bred now...so to lose a large part of that population is very devastating.
"What generally happens in a fire is the koala climbs right up to the top of the tree and curls into a little ball.
"So often the flames will just go over the top and singe the outside, but with really intense fires it can burn them alive."
Ms Ashton says the hospital has rallied around 150 volunteers to be on hand for when the fires allow investigators in to survey the damage.
"In a disaster, people just switch on and you do what you have to do," Ms Ashton said. "No one can control nature, but there's sadness because we care so much about the koalas."
NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman Greg Allan said they're watching the situation but thankfully the bushfire has been downgraded from emergency to advice level.
"It's still an active fire and won't be out for some time," Mr Allan said. "The winds are pushing it down along the coast, which will keep happening as long as the fire is burning."
The koala death toll won't be known until tomorrow or Friday and they're bracing for the worst. Hopefully it hasn't impacted the population too much.
Featured Image Credit: PA