An echidna species is among more than 100 animals more vulnerable to extinction after the bushfires. Image by James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS


Fire habitat loss threatens native species

2020-02-12 21:04:23

The Kangaroo Island dunnart, Pugh’s frog and the Blue Mountains water skink are at imminent risk of extinction due to the scale of habitat loss from bushfire.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has on Tuesday published a list of 113 animal species that need urgent help to survive in the wake of devastating bushfires.

The provisional list includes 13 birds, 19 mammals, 20 reptiles, 17 frogs, five invertebrates, 22 spiny crayfish and 17 freshwater fish species.

Most of the animals have had at least 30 per cent of their habitat burnt.

“The fires have covered an unusually large area and, in many places, they have burnt with unusually high intensity,” the department says. 

“Some species were considered threatened before the fires, and the fires have now likely increased their risk of extinction.”

On-ground surveys for all high priority species should occur quickly while unburnt areas near animal habitats should be protected to provide refuge to animals.

The government has put an initial $50 million towards wildlife recovery in the wake of the bushfires, with animal deaths estimated in the billions.