Around 480 million animals are feared to have died in the bushfires sweeping Australia, including nearly a third of the koalas in New South Wales's main habitat.
Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate around 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have been killed, directly or indirectly, by the devastating blazes since they began in September, The Times reported.
This includes almost 8,000 koalas, which are believed to have burnt to death on the state’s mid-north coast.
“We’ll know more when the fires have calmed down and a proper assessment can be made,” she added.
More than 100 fires continue to rage across the country, having so far consumed more than five million hectares of land.
Dedicated workers at the The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital reportedly treated 72 badly burnt animals on Christmas Day.
They were brought in after bushfires destroyed up to three quarters of their habitat, according to the clinical director Cheyne Flanagan. »