Australia’s government listed 113 native animal species that need ’emergency intervention’ in order to survive after its devastating bushfires

The koala (left), platypus (center), and long-nosed potoroo (right) are three species now at risk.

caption
The koala (left), platypus (center), and long-nosed potoroo (right) are three species now at risk.
source
Business Insider/Reuters

The Australian government on Tuesday released a list of 113 animal species that need “emergency intervention” as devastating bushfires rip through their natural habitat.

Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Water, and Environment named 13 birds, 19 mammals, 20 reptiles, 17 frogs, five invertebrates, 22 crayfish and 17 fish that are currently under threat.

Experts estimate that most of these animals have had “at least 30% of their range burnt,” with some species, including koalas, having substantially more.

Although bushfires are common in Australia during the hot spring and summer months, this year’s bushfire season has been the worst on record.

Since September, the unprecedented fires have razed over 27 million acres. At least 1 billion animals are estimated to have died.

The government listing said: “The fires have covered an unusually large area and, in many places, they have burnt with unusually high intensity. Some species were considered threatened before the fires, and the fires have now likely increased their risk of extinction.”

One of the animal species listed is the koala. In December Australia’s environment minister said that up to 30% of koalas along the New South Wales coast had died killed in bushfires. Experts have previously declared the marsupial “functionally extinct.

The Kangaroo Island echidna has also been listed as endangered.

caption
The Kangaroo Island echidna has also been listed as endangered.
source
REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

The government also declared that another Australian animal, the platypus, was also under urgent threat. Scientists last month said the duck-billed mammal, was being pushed to the “brink of extinction.”

The provisional list does not include plants. The government wrote that it is still working out the scale of the threat to plantlife.

“The animal species included are initial priorities – many others will also need management intervention to support recovery,” the department wrote.

“Fires are continuing to burn which may cause other species to become priorities for emergency intervention.”