Australia: Australian bushfires wipe out half of koala colony, threaten more - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Australian bushfires wipe out half of koala colony, threaten more

16:15  08 november  2019
16:15  08 november  2019 Source:   reuters.com

More than 350 koalas expected to have died in NSW bushfire

  More than 350 koalas expected to have died in NSW bushfire More than 350 koalas have likely perished in bushfires near Port Macquarie, an expert fears. As fires continue to burn in the northern part of NSW, experts say that even with a fifty per cent survival rate, at least 350 koalas are expected to have died. President of the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, Sue Ashton, says even without being able to formally count the fatalities, the situation is dire."We've been crunching the numbers all day and at least two thirds of the area affected by the fire is known to be important breeding habitat for the koala population," she said.

Bushfires have wiped out about half the koalas living on a coastal reserve in New South Wales, exper. A fierce early start to the bushfire season brought a blaze at the Lake Innes Nature Reserve that destroyed two-thirds of the koalas ' habitat last month, leaving the rest under threat from one of 15

Bushfires have wiped out about half the koalas living on a coastal reserve in New South Wales, experts estimated on Friday, as a record About 350 koalas living on the reserve in the north coast town of Macquarie have died in the bushfires , the group Koala Conservation Australia estimates.

A burnt koala named Anwen, rescued from Lake Innes Nature Reserve, receives formula at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital ICU in Port Macquarie© Reuters/STEFICA BIKES A burnt koala named Anwen, rescued from Lake Innes Nature Reserve, receives formula at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital ICU in Port Macquarie

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Bushfires have wiped out about half the koalas living on a coastal reserve in New South Wales, experts estimated on Friday, as a record number of intense fires rage around the Australian state.

a young boy standing in front of a koala: Sue Ashton, president of Koala Conservation Australia, looks at a koala mother named Julie and an unnamed koala joey in Port Macquarie© Reuters/STEFICA BIKES Sue Ashton, president of Koala Conservation Australia, looks at a koala mother named Julie and an unnamed koala joey in Port Macquarie

A fierce early start to the bushfire season brought a blaze at the Lake Innes Nature Reserve that destroyed two-thirds of the koalas' habitat last month, leaving the rest under threat from one of 15 major blazes in the southeastern state.

Koalas injured in NSW bushfires treated in couple's lounge room

  Koalas injured in NSW bushfires treated in couple's lounge room The husband and wife team behind Koalas In Care are treating koalas that have been injured or left homeless by the bushfires in NSW. Sooty, whose nose, chin and fur have been scorched, is one of 24 currently in their house.The husband and wife team behind Koalas In Care are treating koalas that have been injured or left homeless by the bushfires raging around the town.

More than 100 bushfires are threatening huge swathes of Australia 's eastern states of New South Wales and Queensland. However, experts estimated on Friday that nearly half the koalas living on a coastal reserve in New South Wales have been wiped out , with the rest of the colony of originally

Bushfires may have wiped out one of the last remaining outposts of healthy Australian koalas , according to scientists and animal rescue experts. "The fear is that koalas can't really move fast along the ground to get away from the fires and unfortunately many probably will have been killed," a

A burnt koala named Anwen, rescued from Lake Innes Nature Reserve, receives formula at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital ICU in Port Macquarie© Reuters/STEFICA BIKES A burnt koala named Anwen, rescued from Lake Innes Nature Reserve, receives formula at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital ICU in Port Macquarie

About 350 koalas living on the reserve in the north coast town of Macquarie have died in the bushfires, the group Koala Conservation Australia estimates.

That compares with a total population of 500 to 600 in the reserve, said the group's president, Sue Ashton.

Animal carers at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital nearby have been nursing rescued koalas, bandaging their wounds and feeding them eucalyptus leaves and formula.

"We look for signals of pain - teeth grinding, distress - and we just take it on a day-by-day basis," said Amanda Gordon, who leads the team of carers, adding that some of the marsupials' health problems can be hard to spot.

Seven koalas burnt in bushfire successfully treated at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

  Seven koalas burnt in bushfire successfully treated at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital Injured koalas receive life-saving treatment after surviving devastating bushfires on the New South Wales mid-north coast. © Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Sparky the koala is rescued by volunteers from a blaze at Crowdy Head National Park. (Supplied: Koalas In Care Inc) The first rescued koala was admitted to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital after it was found in burnt bushland south of Port Macquarie, by a member of the public. "This little koala was curled up in a ball on the burnt ground," hospital clinical director Cheyne Flannagan said.

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Image caption More than a dozen fires in New South Wales have threatened homes. Australian authorities say an "unprecedented" number of emergency-level bushfires have threatened the state Officials said spot fires - caused by embers travelling in the wind - were breaking out up to 12km (7.4

"Sometimes koalas seem to be doing really, really well. Their paws might be healing up but if something's going on that we can't see there's not really much we can do," added Gordon, who has worked at the hospital for 15 years.

The carers estimate at least 10 days will be needed to assess the full damage to the koala population.

Population estimates for koalas, native to Australia, vary widely, from as few as 50,000 to little more than 100,000.

They dwell mostly in eucalypt forests in eastern states and on the coastal fringes, usually living up to 20 years, carrying their young in a pouch and sleeping for up to 18 hours a day.

Warmer weather brought by climate change threatens to worsen conditions for koalas, as deforestation has narrowed habitable areas, said James Tremain of the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales.

"Devastating bushfires are going to knock out some of these key population centres, but so also will increasing temperatures," he said, by affecting the nutrition value of the leaves that are the animals' sole food source.

"Koalas are definitely in trouble in New South Wales, but if the declines continue at the same rate as the last 20 to 30 years, koalas could be extinct in the wild by mid-century," Tremain added.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Additional reporting by Stefica Bikes in Sydney; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Greens ramp up climate war as fires burn .
Greens Leader Richard Di Natale has weighed in on the bushfires raging in NSW and Queensland, linking them to climate change.Dr Di Natale said for decades it has been known that burning climate changing fossil fuels would lead to more frequent and intense bushfires.

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