Academics have estimated that months of devastating fires in Australia's forests have killed nearly half a billion animals, according to a report released by the University of Sydney. ...
More than 200 fires are raging in New South Wales and Victoria in southeast Australia, fueled by high temperatures and winds.
More than 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have died, directly or indirectly, because of the fires burning all over the country, said Sydney University of Environment Professor Chris Dickman.
He added: "Some things will never return. Like nearly half a billion pets."
He continued: "The animals died either because of the burning flames or because of hunger and thirst. It is not easy to survive for long periods in these circumstances."
The fires destroyed more than 10 million acres, while new fires erupt almost daily due to hot and stormy weather.
And in human casualties, 12 people have been confirmed dead in fire-related accidents across the country since it flared up a few months ago, including 3 volunteer firefighters.
The columns of fire ravaged entire towns, causing thousands of residents to seek refuge on the beaches, and many stood in shallow waters to escape the flames.
The authorities urged residents to leave several towns on the southeastern coast, warning that expectations of a significant increase in temperatures in the coming days will increase the outbreak of fires.