The wildfires in Australia early this year have killed or fled at least 3 billion animals. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reports this based on a study led by the University of Sydney.
In January, when wildfires raged in much of New South Wales, it was estimated to be 1 billion animals.
According to the researchers, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds, 143 million mammals and 51 million frogs have been hit by fire.
The actual number of animals is likely to be much higher because the researchers were unable to collect figures on dead invertebrates, such as insects and fish.
“These are shocking findings,” said the chairman of WWF in Australia. “It is difficult to consider whether there have been events in which so many animals have been killed or chased away.”
One of the researchers calls it “difficult to understand”. “The prospects for the animals that survived are not good. Much of their habitat has been destroyed.”