Australia’s fires could mean extinction for some animals and plants

Mystery Wire

MYSTERY WIRE — Fires in Australia could lead to the extinction of some species as flames destroy ecosystems that host animals and plants found nowhere else on Earth.

The fires are a threat to the continent’s biodiversity.

One example is the Kangaroo Island dunnart — a tiny mouse-like marsupial. A Friday report from The Guardian indicates that the dunnart might not survive. See The Guardian report here.

It’s reasonable to infer that there will be dramatic consequences to very many species. The fires are of such scale and extent that high proportions of many species, including threatened species, will have been killed off immediately.

Professor John Woinarski of Charles Darwin University, in an interview with The Guardian

University of Sydney ecologist Professor Chris Dickman told a Sydney newspaper a minimum of half a billion animals including mammals, birds and reptiles have been killed in New South Wales alone since the fires started in September 2019.

Ecologists say the fires will likely push several species to extinction. The fires have pushed back conservation efforts by decades, and some species may never recover. Climate scientists have long warned that rising greenhouse gases will spark a wave of extinctions.

While attention has focused on koalas, wombats, possums and kangaroos, other lesser-known species are in deep trouble.

The greater glider, a tree-dwelling marsupial that can glide up to 100 metres between trees but can’t move far beyond its local habitat, is another of the species in distress.

The greater glider is one of many species threatened by the fires in Australia. (Toby Hudson / Wikimedia Commons)

The devastation to trees leaves many animals with no cover from predators, and foxes and feral cats have made burned areas their hunting grounds.

Dead birds are washing up on the shores of beaches near Mallacoota.

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