For the first time since the devastating wildfires on Kangaroo Island, Australia, a pygmy opossum has been found, the BBC Wednesday. Ecologists feared that the fires had wiped out the island’s entire population of pygmy possums.
“It is so nice to see that they are still there,” says a volunteer from the Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife organization. to the BBC. The pygmy possum is found in Australia and New Guinea and weighs between six and eight grams.
On Kangaroo Island, an island south of the state of South Australia, much of the forests were destroyed by fires last year. Many Australian animal species lost part of their habitat. About 93 percent of the gray opossum’s habitat was lost.
Before the wildfires, the mouse was already an endangered species, with only 113 pygmy possums on the island. How many of these are left is unknown, but ecologists believe that there are certainly more than one left on the island.
60,000 koalas affected by fires
The wildfires that raged in Australia last summer affected more than 60,000 koalas. More than 41,000 koalas were hit on Kangaroo Island.
In addition to the marsupials, billions of other animals were also affected, according to the World Wildlife Fund: about 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 181 million birds and at least 51 million frogs.
The fires destroyed nearly 19 million hectares in the south and east of the country. It was not until last March that the signal was given fire master.
It was one of the worst fires the country has seen in recent decades. This was mainly due to drought and heat records in recent years. The consequences were dire: 3,500 homes were destroyed, 34 people died in the flames and 445 people died from smoke inhalation.