Hundreds Of Koalas Have Been 'Incinerated' In Horror Bushfires
Around 350 koalas are believed to have been killed in New South Wales as the state grapples with a horror start to the bushfire season.
The animal death toll is in addition to three people killed and more than 150 homes lost.
Dozens of blazes continue to rage however few areas have been hit harder than around Port Macquarie. The region was under threat from emergency level bushfires last week, which have devastated the local koala population.
"We think most of the animals were incinerated - it's like a cremation," Koala Conservation Australia president Sue Ashton told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"They have been burnt to ashes in the trees."
The koalas in this region are described as some of the most genetically diverse in the whole country.
Thankfully, rescuers have managed to save more than a dozen of the marsupials and they've been transported to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital for treatment.
Photos uploaded by the hospital to social media show the koalas in various states of health with some suffering severe burns.
The hospital's clinical director Cheyne Flanagan told the Daily Telegraph: "The fires are at such a high intensity, we're not finding any bodies. They're completely incinerated to ash.
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"I don't know if the koala population will ever recover, there's still three months of summer still to go."
A fundraiser has been set up to help the hospital deal with the influx of injured koalas as well as the road ahead.
Incredibly, in just a few days, more than $68,000 has been donated; well above the $25,000 target.
Wendy Afford started the fundraiser and wrote: "One way to help surviving koalas and other wildlife is to provide access to water to reduce further deaths from dehydration.
"The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital would like to raise money to purchase and distribute automatic drinking stations which will assist in helping koala and wildlife survival.
"Money raised will be used to distribute the drinking stations in the fire affected region. If enough money is raised, it will distribute to other significant koala habitat areas across the State.
"With rising temperatures and increasingly dry conditions worsening across the State, access to water is essential for survival."
People in the firing line have been warned that the worst is yet to come.
Anthony Clark from the RFS said: "There's a lot of hard work ahead of us, but the simple message is we're not going to get on top of those fires before these really bad conditions hit on Tuesday."
Forecasters are expecting 'catastrophic conditions' for the Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Greater Hunter areas tomorrow. Temperatures are tipped to get into the mid-30s and wind is forecast to be high - which, teamed with the already extremely dry conditions, is the perfect storm for bushfires.
Featured Image Credit: Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
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