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WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: An ABC cameraman has released “gut wrenching” footage of the “worst thing” he has seen, but insists the story must be told.
Native wildlife and livestock are among the casualties of the devastating bushfires which have persisted across Australia for months now, including animals which are on the brink of extinction.
The national broadcaster’s cameraman Matt Roberts shared a video on his Twitter page, which offers some confronting perspective on the devastating toll the bushfires are taking on Australia’s wildlife.
— ABCcameramatt (@ABCcameramatt) January 5, 2020
As the cameraman drives slowly through the south western NSW town of Batlow through the thick haze of smoke, dozens of dead wildlife and livestock can be seen charred at the side of the road.
Millions of animals are dead and hundreds of thousands more will perish over coming days as a result of killer bushfires terrorising southeast Australia.
Native wildlife and agricultural livestock are among the fatalities, with already-endangered species at greater risk of extinction. The extent of the carnage may never be known.
"The fires will have killed millions of animals... mammals, birds, reptiles," Wildlife Victoria boss Megan Davidson told AAP.
And the threat is not over with wildlife rescue groups likely to be helpless in many instances.
"It is largely a job of euthanising at this stage, both livestock and wildlife," Dr Davidson said.
"They are so severely burned that there is nothing better you can do than end their suffering,” she added.
How to help thirsty wildlife
Despite the scale of destruction caused by the fires, Dr Davidson is hopeful that animal populations can recover.
"It is sometimes surprising how quickly things will recover – as soon as conditions are good again they can very rapidly breed up," she said.
Dr Davidson said everyone can help animals that are not only suffering from fires, but from years of drought.
"It's grim but we don't want people to despair," she said.
What people can do to help:
Distribute containers of water outdoors, being sure to throw in some sticks and leaves so that insects have something to cling to
Swimming pool owners should add "climb-out points" so animals don't drown
Fruit tree owners should remove netting to share their produce
When offering pellets and hay, be sure to spread the food out so that species have a lesser chance of being targeted by predators
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