More Than One Billion Animals Killed in Australia Wildfires Called a ‘Very Conservative’ Estimate, by Jake Johnson (updated)

Australia Wildfires

Screenshot by Dandelion Salad via Flickr
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Dandelion Salad

Updated: Jan. 9, 2020

by Jake Johnson
Common Dreams
January 8, 2020

Chris Dickman of the University of Sydney said “without any doubt at all” the animal death toll has exceeded one billion.

As Australia’s catastrophic wildfires rage on with no end in sight, University of Sydney ecologist Chris Dickman said the number of animals killed in the blazes has topped one billion—a horrifying figure that the scientist described as a “very conservative” estimate.

Dickman told HuffPost late Monday that the original estimate of nearly 500 million animals killed was based solely on figures from the state of New South Wales (NSW) and excluded groups of animals that have been devastated by the wildfires, which have scorched 18 million acres of land, destroyed thousands of homes, and killed at least 25 people.

“The original figure—the 480 million—was based on mammals, birds, and reptiles for which we do have densities, and that figure now is a little bit out of date,” Dickman said. “It’s over 800 million given the extent of the fires now—in New South Wales alone.”

When animals such as bats, frogs, and invertebrates are included in the total, Dickman said, “without any doubt at all” the death toll has exceeded a billion.

“Over a billion would be a very conservative figure,” the ecologist said.

Stuart Blanch, scientist with World Wildlife Fund Australia, agreed with Dickman’s assessment of over a billion animals lost to the fires.

“It’s our climate impact and our obsession with coal that is helping wage war on our own country,” Blanch said in an interview with HuffPost.

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg highlighted the shocking numbers on Twitter:

The unprecedented fires across Australia, fueled by record heat driven by the global climate crisis, have put several endangered species in Australia at risk of total extinction.

“Critically endangered species, including the southern corroboree frog and mountain pygmy-possum, could be wiped out as fires ravage crucial habitat in Victoria’s Alpine National Park and New South Wales’ neighboring Kosciuszko National Park,” HuffPost reported. “Threatened species, such as the glossy black cockatoo, spotted-tail quoll, and long-footed potoroo (both small marsupials), are also facing real risks of extinction in large parts of their range.”

Janine Green, a volunteer at WIRES Wildlife Rescue, told CNN Tuesday that it will be extremely difficult for animal populations to recover in the aftermath of the fires.

“They’re not coping, and now they’ve got no grass, no water, no habitat,” Green said. “Who knows if they can breed after this? We’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Why wildfires turned Australia into ‘Hell on Earth’

RT America on Jan 6, 2020

Dozens of fires burning for weeks across Australia have killed 500 million animals and 24 humans, and have displaced thousands of people. The fires are expected to burn for several more months, so authorities have sought global assistance. RT America’s Alex Mihailovich reports from Toronto on how the Canadian government is helping.

How a climate system is impacting Australia’s wildfires

Global News on Jan 7, 2020

Eric Sorensen explains how Australia’s widespread fires are connected to Africa’s floods. Plus, Amanda Jelowicki reports on the Canadians on a mission to help Australia’s vulnerable animals.

Australian wildfires by the numbers

Mercury News on Jan 6, 2020

There are at least 135 fires burning across the New South Wales southeastern state, with 70 of those blazes not contained yet, according to the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Updated: Jan. 9, 2020

Australian Wildfires Prove Denying Climate Change Won’t Save You From It

TheRealNews on Jan 9, 2020

Climate scientist Michael Mann is in Australia, where the bushfire crisis is unfolding in real time. He says voters there need to look for ‘climate hawks’ who can counteract the climate-denying policies of politicians like current prime minister Scott Morrison.

Transcript

See also:

While the World Burns, the Powerful Go on Holiday by Kenn Orphan

From the archives:

Chris Hedges: Rebellion Is The Only Way To Stop The Ruling Elites, interviewed by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese

If You’re Not Busy Plotting Nonviolent Revolution for Peace and Climate, You’re Busy Dying by David Swanson

Late-Stage Capitalism Is Creating A New Kind Of Global Despotism by Rainer Shea

Cop25: Never Have So Many Governments Done So Little For So Many by Pete Dolack + Chris Hedges: Sustained Civil Disobedience Necessary To Respond To The Climate Crisis

Beyond Planting Trees and Changing Light Bulbs: A List of Things You Can Do About The Climate Crisis by Rivera Sun

Trouble #23: Prelude to a Disaster

Powerful Forces Cause Fires in Brazil, Beyond the Amazon + Militarism and Climate Change + Warming Oceans Are Rising at Alarming Rate

The Fight Against Climate Change Is An Anti-Colonialist Struggle by Rainer Shea + The Amazon is Burning at a Record Rate

Extreme Heat Could Make One Third of Planet Uninhabitable + Mass Media Fail to Link Heat Waves and Climate Change

Australia Wildfires

Screenshot by Dandelion Salad via Flickr
Watch the videos above

3 thoughts on “More Than One Billion Animals Killed in Australia Wildfires Called a ‘Very Conservative’ Estimate, by Jake Johnson (updated)

  1. And then there’s the 100 billion plus creatures we imprison, torture,exploit and slaughter to put on our plates every year.
    Veganism is a moral obligation.

  2. ….and still we just keep on consuming, wasting, destroying communities over extraction rights, supply chain dominance and ideological superiority, blind to the exponential devastation we have caused from our relentless greed & obsessive materialism, poisoning and eliminating entire ecosystems ~ these poor creatures, just heart-rending

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