Tags: Climate Change | Global Warming | australia | wildfires | marsupial | species | animal

Australian Bushfires May Have Killed Marsupial Species

a used postage stamp from Australia, depicting an image of a long-tailed dunnart
A used postage stamp from Australia, depicting an image of a long-tailed dunnart. (Chris Dorney/Dreamstime)

By    |   Monday, 06 January 2020 04:20 PM

The ongoing Australian bushfires might have wiped out an entire species of marsupial, the latest of many animals that the fires have pushed to the brink of extinction, The Independent reports.

"The Kangaroo Island dunnart is our main species of concern and it looks like its entire known [habitat] range has been fried," Pat Hodgens, an ecologist with Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife, told the newspaper. "We are locating unburnt remnant patches of its habitat to see if we can locate it through camera trapping."

The dunnart is a mouse-like marsupial that can be found in Australia and New Guinea. Twenty-one species of the animal have been identified, the Kangaroo Island dunnart was first described in 1969 and can only be found on the western side of the island, which is located in South Australia.

Hodgens and Daniella Teixeira, an ecologist with the University of Queensland, said the current state on the island is unknown, but some "critical areas" were damaged by the fires, which have killed an estimated half-billion animals.

"We don't know the extent of the damage on the [Kangaroo Island] glossy habitat but we do know that critical areas of feeding and breeding areas have been burnt – currently a waiting game," Teixera said.

"It's reasonable to infer that there will be dramatic consequences to very many species," Professor John Woinarski of Charles Darwin University told The Guardian. "The fires are of such scale and extent that high proportions of many species, including threatened species, will have been killed off immediately."

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The dunnart is the latest of many animals that the Australian wildfires have pushed to the brink of extinction, The Independent reported.
australia, wildfires, marsupial, species, animal, dunnart
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2020-20-06
Monday, 06 January 2020 04:20 PM
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