Photo: New York Times
As we reported earlier, approximately 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles may have died as a result of the massive fires in Australia. Several endangered species are also at risk of extinction. Climate scientists have long warned that an increasingly warmer climate will lead to a wave of species extinctions.
Many endangered animal species in Australia are only present in very small areas. When a large ground fire hits these areas, it can mean that the animals are extinct. If not directly, then indirectly when their habitats burn up or because they can no longer find food or hide. The burnt landscape, which becomes very homogeneous, without variation. When so many marsupials and rodents have died and birds have lost their habitats, the landscape also does not receive the natural help in spreading seeds and fungal spores that normally occur after a fire. In Australia, there are also a lot of stray domestic cats and foxes that are likely to get their prey fairly easily in burned areas.
The destruction of important habitats has, among other things, happened on the island of Kangaroo Island, the only place where the marsupial Kangaroo Island lives. Here, four important areas for marsupials have completely burned and according to an expert The Guardian talked to, it does not look good for the species.
The huge fire will severely affect biodiversity for decades and may have been the death knell for several endangered species. Researchers who comment in the article are wondering what it will be like for Australia’s wildlife when the global temperature is raised to 2 or 4 degrees. At present, the average temperature increase is 1.1 degrees.
– This is a precedent for a bright future for our wildlife. The fires have destroyed many years of conservation work and are a warning of an even bleak future. Due to climate change, fires will become more common and more severe. It’s a sad time for conservation work in Australia, “John Woinarski, a professor at Charles Darwin University, told The Guardian.
The fact that the fires have hit many endangered species is beyond doubt, but how many that have been extinct do not know until after the summer, which in Australia lasts between December and February.