Fires in Australia: billions of wild animals killed

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Fires in Australia: billions of wild animals killed

Wildfires in Australia between 2019 and 2020: billions of wild animals was killed according to a latest report. More than 8 million hectares of forest have gone up in smoke. More than 30 people died and after a series of studies, estimates of damage to fauna were made, published by WWF and entitled Impacts of the unprecedented 2019-2020 bushfires on Australian animals.

The researchers involved by the WWF have estimated the potential death of nearly 3 billion native vertebrates for the area burned in the 2019-20 fires. Estimates of the impact of fires in Australia on reptiles are higher than the other vertebrate taxa considered because reptile densities can be much higher.

Some small lizards or skinks can reach and exceed 1,000 individuals per hectare. Professor Chris Read has estimated that the loss of 240 trillion arthropods killed by the fires can be estimated on the basis of the surface exposed to the fire.

Robert Godfree's study published on Nature estimated that seven million hectares of eucalyptus forests and woods and more than 300,000 hectares of rainforest went up in smoke. More than 800 vascular plant species would have lost more than 50% of their populations and more than 150 native vascular plant species would have suffered fires in 90% of their areas.

Species particularly vulnerable to forest fires include epiphytic orchids, which grow on trees, and fire-sensitive rainforest species. In parts of New South Wales, more than three-quarters of rainforest communities have been burned down.

The longest-lived koala in the world unfortunately lives in a zoo

The longest-lived koala in the world is called Midori and is 24 years old: unfortunately the animal, decimated by last year's fires in Australia, does not live in wildlife, but in a Japanese zoo.

Midori received the certificate of recognition from the Guinness World Records. Midori, who was born in Australia, turned 24 last month and has lived in the Minami-Awaji City Zoo in Hyogo Prefecture since 2003. Captive koalas live an average of 16 years.

The previous record of 23 years belonged to a female koala in an Australian park. The zoo says Midori still has a great appetite and loves eucalyptus leaves despite her age, which, in human terms, would be around 110 years old.

Midori still manages to curl up on the trees and loves being brushed with a bruschino. Her guardian, who regards her as a member of her family, says Midori is very calm and hopes to be able to take care of her for as long as possible.