San Diego Zoo’s efforts to help Australia fires

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The conservation group WWF-Australia estimates that 1.25 billion wild animals had died during the fires in addition to livestock losses, which the government expects will exceed 100,000 animals.

WWF fears the disasters could lead to local extinctions and threaten the survival of some species, such as the glossy black-cockatoo and a knee-high kangaroo known as the long-footed potoroo.

WWF conservation scientist Stuart Blanch described the estimate as conservative, and it did not include bats, frogs and insects.

The majority of estimated losses were reptiles, followed by birds, then mammals such as koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and wombats.

WWF estimates there were between 100,000 and 200,000 koalas across Australia before the fire season. Estimated koala losses in the current emergency include 25,000 on Kangaroo Island off southern Australia and 8,000 in northwest New South Wales.

“It’s a significant loss, but I don’t think we’ll know for several months,” Blanch said of the koala deaths.

The San Diego Zoo Global is monitoring the fires and is working closely with the National Parks and other organizations to work on ways to help the animals in crisis.

The Zoo is asking the public donate what they can by going to EndExtiction.org.

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