113 Animals Closer To Extinction After Australia's Bushfire Crisis
At least 113 species -- including birds, reptiles, frogs and fish -- need 'urgent' help to recover from the country's devastating bushfires, new figures have revealed.
The Department of Agriculture has released the list of species that experts say need urgent attention, with some risking "imminent" extinction.
It follows a meeting of threatened species experts, convened by Environment Minister Sussan Ley, to prioritise recovery efforts for wildlife and ecosystems affected by fires that tore through much of southern and eastern Australia.
The list includes 13 birds, 19 mammals, 20 reptiles, 17 frogs, five invertebrate, 22 spiny crayfish and 17 freshwater fish.
Experts have stressed the estimate could change when teams on the ground are able to reach more fire-affected areas.
The high-priority species were identified based on how much of their habitat has been burnt, how imperilled they were before the blazes and their vulnerability to fire.
The department said most of the animals have had at least 30 per cent of their range burnt -- but for many, that number is much higher.
Some species were already listed as threatened under national environment laws before the fires -- such as the Kangaroo Island Dunnart, Pugh's Frog and the Blue Mountains Water Skink.
Others that were otherwise considered 'secure' have now lost much of their habitat, including the Smoky Mouse, Koala and Giant Burrowing Frog.
Several animals, including the platypus and lesser-known species like the Golden-Tipped Bat, have been placed on the list provisionally.
A separate assessment of plants is underway, but the department said that requires more time as a large number of species is being assessed.
Ley said assessing the true scale of the devastation had been limited due to ongoing blazes in some areas and smouldering grounds.
While priority actions will differ across species, recovery teams will work to establish the extent of population loss on the ground and protect unburnt areas.
Last month, the government announced $50 million in emergency funding for wildlife recovery.
Work is underway across the states and territories to look after animals that have survived the blazes, including food drops for species such as the endangered Brush-Tailed Rock-Wallaby and recovery operations for the Southern Corroboree Frog in NSW.