Over 20,000 koalas have suffered a horrible death as raging bushfires burned more than 150,000 hectares of land on one of Australia’s most prominent tourist hotspots.
The Kangaroo Island, which is the country’s third-biggest island, was left in a devastating state after an out-of-control fire swept through half of the land.
According to hardworking rescuers who are now looking for surviving animals, at least 20,000 koalas have died in recent fires on the island.
“There is no food left, for those who didn’t perish in the fire, a lot of them will starve to death. People would talk about koalas being a pest species … but now there are a lot of koalas [that] perished in the fires,” Sam Mitchell of the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park said.
“You can only find the injured koalas on the edge of the plantation, All the ones inside the ground would have been killed instantly,” firefighter Rick Fisher added.
According to the reports, the rescuers have come across thousands of burned bodies while searching the island for survivors.
Besides destroying the local flora and fauna, the blaze was also responsible for killing two people who got trapped in their vehicle and destroying dozens of homes and farms.
“Very sad that we have heard two people have died in the fires. The forensic team from SAPOL is on its way, as we have more information we will make it known,” South Australia Premier Steven Marshall expressed.
“At the moment the focus is on informing next of kin, our hearts go out to the family of those people that have been affected.”
According to the report of Daily Mail Australia, plenty of homes, resorts, and farms were totally destroyed in the fire whereas tourists and residents were trying their best to escape to safe areas.
“The destruction is immense. To have an island more or less half burnt is unbelievable,” Mayor Michael Pengilly said.
To help evacuate as many people as possible, Vasco da Gama cruise ship docked at Penneshaw and opened their door to disaster-struck individuals.
“The escalating, uncontrolled bushfires burning on Kangaroo Island means our scheduled anchorage call to Penneshaw has understandably been cancelled,” Managing Director Dean Brazier said in an interview with 7News.
“We have, however, offered to provide evacuation assistance if required for the locals and tourists who remain on the Island.”
As SA Premier Mr. Marshall added, the government has started making plans on providing the islanders with the support they need to recover from the calamity.
“It’s clear that South Australia has had an extraordinarily difficult time with extensive damage right across our state,” he said.
“Our focus at the moment is doing everything that we possibly can to contain the fire on Kangaroo Island. But very quickly our focus will move onto recovery.”
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