#Regram #RG @aussieark: Officials have issued a warning of “catastrophic fire danger” as firefighters battle over 60 blazes raging across the Australian state of New South Wales, which has caused the tragic loss of lives and livelihoods. There have already been significant harmful impacts to wildlife, with entire ecosystems up in smoke and individual species affected, including around 350 Koalas presumed dead – all before the fires reach their peak.
Our hearts go out to the victims of the current fires, which we know have been exacerbated by the decline of native biodiversity. Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate on Earth, and the country is amongst the worst 7 countries worldwide for biodiversity loss. Australian conservation efforts need a radical overhaul. Mitigating the intensity of these fires, mostly set by humans and their activities, can be achieved by restoring our native ecosystem engineers, such as bandicoots, bettongs and potoroos. These species help to maintain healthy forests by continually turning over and breaking down forest leaf litter, thereby drastically reducing fuel load. In their absence, fires are more intense, often reaching the treetops, which can affect populations of species already on the brink, like the Koala. Slow growing and ancient Australian East coast temperate forests are of global significance, as these forests have some of the highest carbon storage on the planet. Fires of this intensity threaten their very existence but managing wildlife to reduce fire intensity and protect forests is underappreciated for its importance in reducing the release of carbon into the atmosphere.
Aussie Ark works with Australia’s most threatened and imperiled wildlife, several of which are extinct on the mainland. Native wildlife conservation sanctuaries provide refuge, as well as source populations for rewilding and restoring Australia’s native ecosystems.
Our sincere well wishes go out to all those affected by these devastating fires. If you encounter any injured wildlife, please contact your local animal authorities for rescue and rehabilitation.
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Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio is an American actor, film producer, and environmentalist. He has played unconventional roles, usually in biopics and period films. As of 2019, his films have grossed $7.2 billion worldwide, and he placed eight times in annual rankings of the world’s highest-paid actors.