As per the new estimates by the University of Sydney, in excess of one billion animals may have lost their lives or put in peril as a consequence of the massive Australian fires.
The one billion figure was reached after the previous animal fatality and imperilment estimated were revised by University of Sydney's science faculty Prof Chris Dickman, reported Fox News.
Prof Dickman said in a University of Sydney statement: "I think there's nothing quite to compare with the devastation that's going on over such a large area so quickly. It's a monstrous event in terms of geography and the number of individual animals affected."
According to Fox News, NPR reported that a 1.5-million-acre mega-fire kicked off by the merging of two bushfires in southeast Australia. Around 3,000 houses were destroyed and 26 people died as a result of more than 130 bushfires.
Prof Dickman, who specialises in Australian mammals with an experience of 30 years in this field, said: "We know that Australian biodiversity has been going down over the last several decades, and it's probably fairly well known that Australia's got the world's highest rate of extinction for mammals. It's events like this that may well hasten the extinction process for a range of other species. So, it's a very sad time."
He further said: "What we're seeing are the effects of climate change. Sometimes, it's said that Australia is the canary in the coal mine with the effects of climate change being seen here most severely and earliest. ... We're probably looking at what climate change may look like for other parts of the world in the first stages in Australia at the moment."
He also pointed out that the animals that would somehow manage to survive the catastrophe would be left with very little resources to sustain themselves once they return to their habitat. This may also make them more vulnerable to predators....