Climate Action

Australian bushfires impacted over 3 billion animals 


"Australian bushfires rank as one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history." Image: REUTERS/Tracey Nearmy

Niall McCarthy
Data Journalist, Statista
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Climate Crisis

  • A new report has shown that 3 billion animals were either killed or displaced during Australian bushfires this year.
  • The findings are 3 times higher than earlier estimates released in January.
  • WWF-Australia's CEO has warned that with climate change making bushfires more likely, the threat on wildlife has been put into perspective.

A shocking new report compiled by 10 scientists and commissioned by WWF-Australia has found that the country's devastating bushfires in 2019 and 2020 killed or displaced nearly three billion animals - nearly three times an earlier estimate released in January. The scientists behind the report are from the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, University of Newcastle, Charles Sturt University, and BirdLife Australia. They found that 2.46 billion reptiles have been impacted, along with 180 million birds, 143 million mammals and 51 million frogs.

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3 billion animals were impacted by Australian bushfires. Image: Statista

WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said that “the interim findings are shocking. It’s hard to think of another event anywhere in the world in living memory that has killed or displaced that many animals. This ranks as one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history." Mr. O'Gorman added that with extreme fires becoming more frequent due to climate change, the report's findings “give other countries a window into the future of mega fires and their devastating impact on wildlife”.

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Related topics:
Climate ActionGeographies in DepthNature and Biodiversity
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