Fires in Australia are still burning. The rest of the world can see the extent of devastation that the bushfires have caused. However, scientists say that it’s still too early to have a clear picture of the total damage.
The Australian government has conducted preliminary studies and surveys, which tell us that over 100 animal and plant species have lost their homes. Three hundred species have lost over 10% of their habitat. A considerable number of species are yet to be assessed.
Over 100 species are considered threatened, and the bushfires have driven them further towards extinction. According to Birdlife Australia, almost 80 birds have now lost ⅓ of their natural habitat. The beautiful lyrebird, which used to be a common sighting, is now a threatened species.
Australia is home to a diverse ecosystem of animals and plants, and they are the ones who are the most impacted by this debilitating incident. Helene Marsh (James Cook University Emeritus Professor of Environmental Science, and Chair of the National Threatened Species Scientific Committee) believes in and urges for the creation of a monitoring system to help fix the bushfire crisis. She believes that this unfortunate tragedy has made the world - but more so, the Aussies - aware of the risks that face their country’s beautiful and unique animal and plant kingdom.
While we would like more people to acknowledge climate change before a calamity occurs, this particular disaster has led to a significant increase in awareness. There are considerably more conversations about climate change and wildlife preservation today than there was pre-bushfires.
As of today, the Australian government has put $50 million in action, geared towards funding wildlife recovery, with more promised to come. Officials of areas affected continue to work on a joint, national response.
Wombats have become global heroes during the bushfire crisis, although they may not even be aware of their own heroism. They may have helped other animals knowingly or accidentally. We will never know. But the fact remains that their excellent digging skills led to the survival of several animals.
Wombats dig burrows for shelter - and we’re not talking about simple underground holes. These are burrows that go up to 100 feet down, with sleeping chambers and multiple entrances. Wombat warrens, which are massive and complex, include networks of several burrows. These served as shields and homes from the burning environment above the ground. Small mammals took shelter in them during the bushfires and survived.
The bushfires damaged 32,400 square miles of Australian land. More than 1 billion animals are dead. Rescuers are still working to find animals, hopefully hiding and surviving - as the ones in the wombat burrows did. These small mammals surfaced without even a minor burn. Echidnas and wallabies are just two species that took refuge in the said burrows.
What WE Can Do to Help
You don’t have to dig burrows to be a hero (but the wombats had the right idea). Here are some ways to give back and help Australian wildlife get back on its feet.
Donations are still the best way to help, especially if you live far away. This ensures that rescuers are funded to keep looking for hurt animals, rehabilitating them, and caring for them in the best possible way. Here are some of the charities you can consider:
- Humane Society International
- 1300KOALAZ Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue
- WIRES’ Emergency Fund for saving wildlife affected by the fires
- WWF’s Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund
- Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery
This week, 10% of all TreeActiv sales will be donated to WWF Australia. By supporting our products, you help these animals in need. And as a token of friendship, we’ll offer FREE SHIPPING sitewide, too.