Entire koala population could be ‘wiped out’ by wildfire

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Canberra, Dec 11 (IANS) A wildlife preservation society in Australia on Tuesday voiced grave concerns for the koala population, after a devastating wildfire tore through an area which is an important habitat for the species.

Beginning Monday evening, dozens of fire crews battled the 80 hectare blaze through Salamander Bay trying desperately to protect property and wildlife, reports Xinhua news agency.

Despite their best efforts, it’s estimated around 16 hectares of the Mambo Wetlands, the koala habitat, was destroyed.

“It has a viable breeding population and it’s central to all the other habitats,” senior carer at the Port Stephens Koalas and Wildlife Preservation Society Simone Aurino told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It’s a really, really essential habitat.”

But while the inferno has now been brought under control, the long-term effects may continue to disrupt the local koala population for some time to come.

“They’re going to move across roads, we’re going to have animals in backyards having encounters with dogs, we’re going to have them on the roads getting hit by cars,” Aurino said.

“It has the potential to wipe out the population in this area, it’s really quite devastating.”

–IANS

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