In January of the new year, twenty-five people and more than one billion animals have perished in the Australia bushfires, which continues to burn. There are also a couple of species may have been removed from the planet according to reports.
Various birds, mammals, reptiles have died in the fires. Specifically cattle, sheep, bats, frogs, and invertebrates. There are also reports that continuing fires will kill thousands of camels in northwestern Australia as they compete with humans for water while drought and fires persist.
Two species known as the glossy black cockatoos and the dunnarts may have been completely wiped out in the wildfire.
The populations of these species are threatened as fires ravage their habitat on Kangaroo Island off the southern coast of the country.
Heidi Groffen, an ecologist with nonprofit Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife, said the dunnarts, a marsupial species that looks like a large mouse, specifically are too small to outrun the wildfires.
Groffen’s colleague, ecologist Pat Hodgens, said they have installed cameras to detect any survivors, as well as utilizing a drone to zero in on potential areas where the species may have been able to survive.
“The Kangaroo Island dunnart is our main species of concern and it looks like its entire known habitat range has been fried,” Hodgens told the outlet. “We are locating un-burnt remnant patches of its habitat to see if we can locate it through camera trapping.”
Other researchers are focused on the rare glossy black cockatoos. While they may have been able to fly away from the blazes, it's still to be determined if they'll be a able to survive in an alternate habitat.
“We don’t know the extent of the damage on the [Kangaroo Island] glossy habitat but we do know that critical areas of feeding and breeding areas have been burnt. Currently a waiting game,” said Daniella Teixera, an ecologist with the University of Queensland.
Australia’s Department of the Environment and Energy said that the land impacted by the bushfires need to be officially declared safe before officials can re-evaluate the extent of the damage to wildlife, and whether or not these two species have indeed wiped out.