Experts Now Fear More Than 2,000 Koalas Have Died From The Bushfires
Dozens of bushfires continue to rage across Australia after an absolutely horrific start to the season. One of the big talking points from the devastating scenes has been the loss of wildlife, in particular koalas.
There were fears that around 350 koalas have been incinerated from the blazes that have erupted across New South Wales and Queensland, however those fears have been maximised.
An inquiry into koala populations and habitat in New South Wales at state parliament is expected to deliver the news that more than 2,000 of the animals have perished in that state alone.
According to 7News, Port Macquarie Koala Hospital's clinical director Cheyne Flanagan is due to give evidence to the inquiry, as well as representatives of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
Greens MP Cate Faehrmann will chair the inquiry and said this loss of life is devastating.
Ms Faehrmann said in a statement: "Today's hearing is timely and necessary. We will be hearing from some of Australia's leading experts on koalas, bushfire and climate change.
"We will also hear recommendations that must be urgently taken to ensure these fires don't lead to the irreversible decline of koalas in NSW.
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"Hearing that we have lost up to a third of koala habitat and more than 2,000 koalas on the North Coast is utterly devastating and should be a wakeup call for this government that they must take action to protect koala habitat."
Experts have been warning that the local koala population had been devastated and there were further fears that the species could be wiped out.
Deborah Tabart OAM, chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, says the marsupials are 'functionally extinct'.
Tabart explained that even koalas that have managed to survive the bushfires are still at risk, as they have been left with little habitat - as trees with eucalyptus take 'months to grow back'.
She is now urging the government to step in and take action, calling on the Australian prime minister to enact the Koala Protection act, which was written back in 2016.
She told the Daily Mail: "They are equivalent to the Great Barrier Reef. Everyone wants to touch a koala, so you would think the government would want to do something to save them."
More than $1 million has been raised since the bushfires started, which will go towards the koalas and the people who look after them.
Featured Image Credit: Port Macquarie Koala Hospital