Since July 2019, Australia has been battling against what has become one of the worst wildfires seen in decades. It has grown to an uncontrollable crisis that Australia has also turned to other countries, including the United States, for firefighting assistance. Six months into this crisis, a total of 28 people have lost their lives, and more than 3,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged in the state of New South Wales alone. While Australia is widely known as the land of bushfires, recent climate change has led this season’s fires to go from bad to worse.
A sudden shift in focus towards a broader, less visible impact on the future of the country has taken place. Original reports initially suggested the death of 500 million animals to the bushfires. However, The World Wildlife Fund described the animal death count to have exceeded more than double the amount experts feared – with an estimated figure of 1.25 billion. This shocking figure is equivalent to five times the population of Brazil, which has 212.6 million people.
This heartbreaking loss has especially impacted iconic species such as the koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, gliders, potoroos, cockatoos, and honeyeaters. Since then, the fires have shown no signs of stopping anytime soon, and the Australian Medical Association has warned the public that the length and density of smoke exposure is a potentially fatal health risk that they have not previously had to face.