New figures from specialists in Australia suggest that the number of animals that have been killed by the bushfires has exceeded one billion.
Chris Dickman, an ecologist at the University of Sydney, said that his original figure of 480 million animals was conservative – and only included those in the state of New South Wales (NSW).
Speaking to Huffington Post, he said: “The original figure – the 480m – was based on mammals, birds and reptiles for which we do have densities, and that figure now is a little bit out of date. It’s over 800m given the extent of the fires now – in New South Wales alone.
“If 800m sounds a lot, it’s not all the animals in the firing line.”
According to the news outlet, the original figure was around half a billion, but that only referred to the area of NSW and did not include bats, frogs or invertebrates. With those numbers included, Dickman said that the amount of dead animals exceeds one billion ‘without any doubt at all’.
Although the bushfires continue to ravage huge swathes of the region, there are thankfully still a rare few positives to take from the situation, with volunteers coming together to try to do their bit to help.
Around half of Kangaroo Island is thought to have been destroyed by the fires. It’s estimated that more than 20,000 koalas have died, over half of the island’s 50,000-strong population, but the two men made sure it didn’t spell the end for at least some of them.
Of that number, six of the marsupials were orphaned and two of them were mothers with children.
As well as rescuing them, Micah and Caleb are going to look after the koalas until they can return to the wild, and refuse to take them off the island because it would further hurt an already decimated local population