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Calculating the Toll of the Australian Wildfires


Walking through the scar of one of Australia’s most intense bush fires, such as on Kangaroo Island, is like walking on another planet with no living thing in sight. It is estimated that around one billion animals died in the horrific Australian wildfires.


- Walking through the scar of one of Australia's most intense bush fires is like walking on another planet.

There's a thick crusty ash beneath my feet, an unearthly silence and there's not a living thing in sight.

It's hard to imagine anything escaping this kind of an inferno and it's been widely reported that more than a million animals have died in the Australian fires.

But where did such a massive figure come from?

It was calculated using the known densities of animals in the State of New South Wales and multiplying that over the total area burned.

The conservative estimate was around 800 million animals killed but that was only for one state and only included birds, mammals and reptiles.

It didn't include animals like frogs, bats and insects so across multiple fire-ravaged states, the number is easily in the billions.

I'm here on Kangaroo Island, which is off the coast of South Australia and you can kind of think of it as a microcosm of what's been happening on the mainland.

Even here, more than half a million acres have been burned down.

It's wiped out more than 25,000 koalas from the biggest disease free population in Australia and there were also great fears for a number of other threatened native species.

But even in the midst of such devastation, there are some incredible tales of survival thanks to the extraordinary efforts of ordinary Australians.


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