After the bushfires – the return of wildlife in Australia

The Australian bushfires of 2019 caused the worst fire in the continent’s recent history. Three billion animals died or became stateless, and a piece of land the size of England became a prey to fire. The event, dubbed “Black Summer”, was disastrous, but it mobilized people in an unprecedented way with one purpose: to save animals and restore wildlife as quickly as possible. This massive undertaking is discussed in After the bushfires – the return of wildlife in Australia The documentary, which will premiere on Viasat Nature on Sunday 5 December at 6pm.

What is the reason for the black summer?

Southeast Australia was hit by record droughts three years ago: rivers and lakes vanished and entire forests dried up. 2019 went down in history as the hottest and driest year, and two months earlier than usual, attention was drawn to the dangers of severe fire. The first fire in August was caused by dry lightning, which then became the largest bushfire ever. It was so intense in places that it shaped the weather itself. The sheer numbers of destruction are also astounding: 20 million hectares were reduced to ash in the space of a few months during the black summer. Fires have burned everywhere from Queensland through Western Australia to Victoria and New South Wales – resulting in 11,000 unique fires in New South Wales alone. The fire also engulfed half of Kangaroo Island, home to 50,000 koalas. 80% of the population was lost from animals not large in size.

The wombats and their “guests” were rescued by their flights

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While the heat of the crematorium blazed at the surface, stalking or decimating every animal, pet, some wombat specimens miraculously escaped, thanks to their 10- to 15-meter, or even 20-meter, journey dug into the ground. In addition, these flights provided shelter for other animals: one rescued antler and a Varanus were found in the documentary, and even an innovative lotus-tailed bird was hiding in it. But surviving the fire is no guarantee of survival: There Wumpton encountered a dead world to which life did not return even after weeks, so the rescuers had to expose the survivors to food and water.

The biggest danger after fire is cats

Wild cats are spread over 99% of Australia and kill one and a half billion domestic animals every year. The fires also benefit them, as many animals were left without hideouts and/or injured, and many became prey to cats. Australia has the worst mammal mortality rate on Earth, over 90% of which are caused by the introduction of foxes and feral cats. In addition, the lack of animals that escape because of them can lead to new fires, since there is no one to turn the skimmer, it becomes flammable debris. Therefore, reintroduction of various purses is a major issue in these areas – very few animals, for example Tasmanian Devils are bred directly for release here. Also, bird repopulation is a major issue, with only one specimen moving at a rate of 150 tons of soil per year – more than any other animal in the world.

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Black summer is a warning example of the planet entering a new era, which has already been named Pyrocene. According to climate modeling, we can expect longer and more dangerous fire periods in both hemispheres, and global warming will require more and more intervention to keep animals alive. But there is hope: it is After the bushfires – the return of wildlife in Australia He also points to unprecedented cooperation and somewhat successful dramatic events, but he warns that we can no longer go on without the problems of climate change, with fires raging here and now – meaning black summer could happen again at any time.

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