Animal death toll most likely higher than 480 million

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The University of Sydney academics who said 480 million animals had been killed in the NSW bushfires have explained how they made their sobering findings.

The authors of yesterday’s confronting revelations said they used World Wild Fund estimates for mammal density in NSW, and calculated how it would extrapolate to bushfire-destroyed areas.

“The authors deliberately employed highly conservative estimates in making their calculations,” the university said in a statement.

“The true mortality is likely to be substantially higher than those estimated.”

As the year came to a close, several states and territories, including NSW were scorched by horrific bushfires. While 14-year-old Lewis was rescued by a passing motorist, he sadly died from his injuries in the Port Macqaurie Koala Hospital a short time later.
A koala caught in bushfire flames on the NSW Central Coast. (9News)

The 480 million animals estimated to be killed would have died from either the fires themselves, or the depletion of food and shelter and predation from feral cats and foxes.

That figure does not include insects, bats or frogs, and only includes animals killed in NSW.

The death toll for animals killed in bushfires in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania is not known.

Steve Shipton prepares to shoot an injured calf in his paddock after a bushfire in Coolagolite, NSW, January 1, 2020. (AAP)

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Thirty-four mammal species in Australia have become extinct since European colonisation, the highest rate of loss for any region on Earth.

There are more than 300 native mammal species on the continent.

The dire assessment comes as the NSW South Coast and eastern Victoria face a horror day tomorrow.

The remains of a car yard in the industrial estate at Batemans Bay.
The remains of a car yard in the industrial estate at Batemans Bay. (Kate Geraghty)

The weather forecast has led authorities to conclude the still-burning blazes will take greater strength and destroy much more bushland tomorrow.

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