Thou­sands of koalas feared dead in wild­fires

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

PERTH, AUS­TRALIA » Thou­sands of koalas are feared to have died in a wild­fir­erav­aged area north of Syd­ney, fur­ther di­min­ish­ing Aus­tralia’s iconic mar­su­pial, and the fire dan­ger in­creased in the coun­try’s east on Satur­day as tem­per­a­tures soared.

The mid­north­ern coast of New South Wales was home to up to 28,000 koalas, but wild­fires have sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced their pop­u­la­tion in re­cent months. Koalas are na­tive to Aus­tralia and are one of the coun­try’s most beloved an­i­mals, but they’ve been un­der threat be­cause of a loss of habi­tat.

“Up to 30% of their habi­tat has been de­stroyed,” Aus­tralia’s en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter, Sus­san Ley, told the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Corp. “We’ll know more when the fires are calmed down and a proper as­sess­ment can be made.”

Images shared of koalas drink­ing wa­ter af­ter be­ing res­cued from the wild­fires have gone vi­ral on so­cial me­dia in re­cent days.

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