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India’s Tiger Population Is Rising And This Photo Provides Brilliant Proof

The country’s tiger population has grown by about 33% since 2014.

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Elias Marat, The Mind Unleashed

India’s population of wild tigers is quickly rising after the government put its efforts behind strong conservationist policies defending the country’s wildlife.

A new census from the Indian government shows that the country’s tiger population has grown by about 33% since 2014. At present, the country’s wild Bengal tiger population stands at 2,967—mainly due to a ban on hunting and strict implementation of protections.

The South Asian country can now be proud of its role as one of the largest and most stable habitats for tigers worldwide, according to the Status of Tigers in India – 2018 report by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

Proof of the tigers’ healthy numbers are apparent in a photo by an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer that has gone viral.

In the photo snapped by IFS official Siddharth Singh and shared by his colleague Parveen Kaswan, a tigress can be seen walking through a path in the northern Indian region of Terai alongside her five cubs.

Along with the image shared on Twitter, Kaswan wrote:

”This is a magical picture. Count the #cubs with #tigress. I know for a reason how few people will be elated after seeing this. Efforts are helping in making this species bounce back from the verge of extinction. PC Siddharth Singh. Magical Terai.”

The Terai region of the Uttarakhand state’s Western Circle forests have registered the highest growth in tigers, with the large cat’s numbers growing from 79 in 2014 to at least 119 adults in 2018, reports India Times.

In response to the photo, a fellow forest manager wrote:

“Terai is one of the most ecological productive ecosystems of the globe. It bounces back very soon in case given due to protection and slightly intervened with habitat inputs. Results have been extremely encouraging in Katerniaghat, Pilibhit and Dudhwa as I could see.”

In 1973, the Bengal tiger was declared the national animal of India. That same year, the country’s government under then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi initiated Project Tiger, a tiger conservation program that sought to preserve the tiger’s natural habitats, fight back against threats to the creature, and protect the country’s biodiversity.

The government has also established Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) around big cat habitats as well as the world’s largest animal underpass, according to Nature. In 2019, the country invested 3.5 billion rupees ($49.4 million) toward conservation efforts.

However, some critics warn that tigers’ forest corridors continue to face a grave threat from continued infrastructure development in rural zones, posing a potentially fatal threat to the tiger population.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animal World

Half A Billion Fewer Animals Were Killed Since 2007 Because People Are Eating Less Meat

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Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Have you transitioned to a plant-based diet? Do you make an effort to reduce the amount of animal products you are consuming on a regular basis? If so, it is thanks to you that 500 million lives have been spared this year, and with continued awareness, that number continues to rise.

It has become clear that everyone is not going to stop eating meat anytime soon, but as more and more awareness has been made towards the treatment of animals, and about the health effects of a conventional diet and environmental factors that come from eating too much meat, more people are starting to at least consider the option of consuming much less meat. Although, many vegans would argue that it’s all or nothing and that the only way to make an impact is to give up meat entirely. We can clearly see the difference that has come from people simply being more conscious about their meat consumption.

Personally, I don’t eat meat or animal products for the most part, but I also don’t consider myself a vegan, mainly because I don’t feel the need for a label or to define myself in this way — anymore. In the past I was a vegan, a strict one at that, and I realized that putting labels on yourself and preaching your beliefs isn’t necessarily an effective way to create change. Now, educating people on the ethical, environmental, and health concerns that go hand in hand with a traditional diet, and how much being more mindful about the amount of meat and animal products you are consuming and encouraging the idea of consuming less of these products and avoiding products coming from factory farms, now that was a more effective way to go about it. Telling someone that they are wrong and you are right usually doesn’t go over so well, in my experience anyways.

We Are Consuming Less Meat

Meat consumption has been steadily on the decline since 2007. In fact, it has dropped 10% per capita in the United States according to statistics from The Humane Society of the United States. That year, the U.S. raised and slaughtered around 9.5 billion land animals for food. As of 2014 that number fell by 400 million. This is according to Paul Shapiro, Vice President, Farm Animal Protection for The Humane Society of the United States.

“What that means is that compared to 2007, last year almost half a billion fewer animals were subjected to the torment of factory farming and industrial slaughter plants and that’s despite the increase in the U.S. population.”

Ready For More Great News?

That number continues to drop, and really 500 million lives spared in a matter of only 10 years is actually quite impressive. If the number of animals being mass-produced and slaughtered for consumption continued to drop by half a billion every 10 years then it wouldn’t take long before no animal would have to suffer any longer; animals who would be used for food could be treated with respect and raised ethically and have an actual life before their eventual slaughter, which is still by no means humane.

Is It Because People Are Moving Towards A Plant-Based Diet?

Not necessarily. As more and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet, they are making more ethical and conscious decisions about what they are consuming. This doesn’t automatically mean going vegan, but people are choosing to eat less meat. This is certainly becoming obvious by the increasing number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants that seem to be opening up everywhere all the time. In the past decade, we have also seen a large variety of plant-based alternatives to meat products that put the traditional veggie burger to shame. There are many realistic and surprisingly tasty alternatives, and people seem to be more open-minded to giving these a chance. Perhaps because subconsciously they know that it might be time to make a shift. Many athletes are going vegan and swear by this type of lifestyle for achieving optimal results. We are even seeing many doctors adopting this type of lifestyle as well.

Times Are Changing

This serves as a powerful reminder that with enough awareness, and especially with the help of the Internet, things can and will change. If someone is choosing to remain ignorant, they won’t change, but the Internet has made this a difficult thing to do. Nobody wants to see animals suffer and I’m sure that most sane people on the planet would prefer if no animal ever had to suffer again. When we realize how much of an impact we ourselves can make, it helps us to make more ethical decisions. Never forget that “small acts of kindness, multiplied by millions will transform the world.” I believe that this is what has caused this drastic decline in the amount of animals that were slaughtered for food. We can all do our part to actively create the type of the world we want to live in and truly understand that if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. What can you do to reduce your impact?

If you enjoyed reading this article and want to see more like this one, we’d be humbled if you would help us spread the word and share it with your friends and family. Join us in our quest to promote free, useful information to all!

This article was written by Alanna Ketler for Collective Evolution where it was originally published and has been republished under Creative Commons.

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Animal World

Australia’s Iconic Platypus Has Been Pushed To The Brink Of Extinction, Scientists Warn

“In our region, they’re all dead, they’re gone—I can’t find them.”

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Australia’s Iconic Platypus Has Been Pushed To The Brink Of Extinction
Photo Credit: Plant Based News

Elias Marat, The Mind Unleashed

With Australia’s spiralling environmental catastrophe receiving world attention in recent weeks, ecologists have sounded the alarm on the dire threat faced by the country’s endemic wildlife populations.

Researchers are now warning that the platypus—the unusual duck-billed, egg-laying mammal native to eastern Australia whose existence was believed to be a hoax in the late 18th century—is one of the iconic species teetering on the brink of extinction.

According to a new study by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) that was published in the scientific journal Biological Conservation, platypus numbers have declined by half or more since the European colonization of the island continent with local extinctions occurring across 40% of the species natural habitat thanks to drought and human activity such as dam building, water harvesting, land clearances, the impacts of livestock and threats from feral species.

Along with other contemporary threats including the changing climate, scientists fear that platypus numbers will continue to decline between 47% and 66% by 2070.

However, when taking fast-heating climate projections into account the animal’s decline could rapidly fall by 51% to 73 over the next five decades—pushing the species once common in the country’s waterways toward all-out extinction.

The danger to platypuses has become alarming in recent consecutive years as brutal heat-waves and arid conditions made worse by the dearth of rainfall have had a devastating effect on local populations.

Platypus populations, like other aquatic species, are believed to have taken major damage from an intensifying drought and record heat, even prior to the bushfire crisis.

AFP reports that study co-author Gilad Bino, a researcher at the University of NSW’s Centre for Ecosystem Science, said:

“These dangers further expose the platypus to even worse local extinctions with no capacity to repopulate areas.”

The study recommended that national authorities give attention to the “urgent need” for a risk assessment that could downgrade the animal to “vulnerable” status and look at the steps necessary to conserve the species and “minimize any risk of extinction.

The government has taken few if any measures to protect the species despite the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently downgrading the nocturnal creature’s status to “near threatened.”

The study notes that such conservationist measures would include “increasing surveys, tracking trends, mitigating threats and improving management of platypus habitat in rivers.

Dr. Bino said:

“Under predicted climate change, the losses forecast were far greater because of increases in extreme drought frequencies and duration, such as the current dry spell.” 

The platypus, along with four species of echidnas, are the world’s only monotremes or egg-laying mammals that secrete milk from the female bellies.

Australia’s ABC reports that conservationists have seen a precipitous drop in platypus numbers in traditional habitats such as NSW’s Great Barrington region. Tim Faulkner, the president of conservationist group Aussie Ark, said:

“In our region, they’re all dead, they’re gone—I can’t find them … They don’t go into hibernation … They must have water to feed in.

Private landholder management, the management of riparian zones along creeks, water harvest as well as control on stock trampling [are all required].

And going to the toilet in the last fragments of water [must also be controlled].

Our own parks are full of pests like the feral fox and cats responsible for over 90% of all mainland mammal extinction.”

Continuing, Faulkner explained:

“The platypus that we did rescue, we had two die the next day … Their bellies are empty and they’re all riddled with E. coli and a greater diversity of bacteria than that.

Platypus are a Gondwanan dinosaur species—they are monotremes, egg-laying mammals, some of the oldest lineages of mammals on earth.

They’ve been in this constant east coast temperate environment, largely unchanged, for millions of years.

To see it now … a cesspit that’s bacteria ridden and lifeless … certainly in our area—and this must be so wide spread—they’re gone.”

With its unique set of physical features, early sketches of the duck-billed mammal shocked western scientists who stumbled on the existence of the platypus during the colonization of Australia. Even after the creature’s pelt was delivered to researchers in the U.K., the existence of the platypus was believed to be a hoax comprised of a duck’s bill sewn onto a beaver’s body. The species was then hunted for its fur until the last century.

Study co-author Prof. Richard Kingsford stressed that climate change and habit destruction must be reined in. He said:

“This animal is one of the most amazing animals that we have on the planet and it would be a very sad day if we were ever in the position of losing them.

I’m very much hopeful that we’ll never get there, but we do need to address it urgently.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animal World

This Australian Sniper Is Now Leading A Fight To Defend Endangered Wildlife From Slaughter

Damien Mander has saved huge populations of elephants and rhinos from being slaughtered.

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Photo Credit: Getty

Elias Marat, The Mind Unleashed

Australian combat veteran Damien Mander had a world of options before him after he returned from his tour of the Middle East.

But the former special ops war-fighter chose to devote his life to defending helpless wild animals from facing slaughter at the hands of illegal poachers.

Damien Mander had completed three years in Iraq where he trained and deployed paramilitary forces to the front lines of combat.

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The toughest journeys are the least pursued ones, but they are the most rewarding. A comfortable life is a dangerous life, and I highly advise against it. Out there, amongst it all, awaits an unbiased and blank canvas. A path that is yet to be carved. A life that is yet to be lived. A story waiting to be written. To walk a beaten track is to follow in familiar footsteps. At some point, if you want to search for something undiscovered, that safe, easy to follow path has to be abandoned. And then shit gets real. Then life really starts. – – Many grey hairs ago… In a galaxy far, far away, September 11 changed the world for a lot of people. It changed the world for me. As a response, the Australian government formed Tactical Assault Group-East (TAG-E). A special operations, direct action and hostage recovery unit. After enduring the mental torture of selection, I came across to TAG-E from the Navy into Water Platoon. I’d been there only two days before being told I was being sent to sniper school. Talk about a fish (Navy Diver) out of water. The Army lads beat me into shape pretty quickly in what I’d say would be the most extreme learning curve I’ve ever encountered.- – Special operations gave me the qualifications I needed to head to Iraq as a private contractor. Iraq gave me the money, life lessons and desperation needed to set up the IAPF. IAPF gave me the purpose I needed to be all I could dream to be in life. – – We all have a path waiting to be carved. And no one will do it for us. If they try – run. Only you can cut your own path. Anything handed to you is a disservice. – – #ClearanceDiver #IAPF #AntiPoaching #Purpose #Vegan #PlantBased #Nature #Sniper #SpecialOperations #Dream #Animals

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Before that, he had served as a special operations sniper in the Australian Army’s Special Forces 2nd Commando Regiment, as well as a Navy Clearance Diver—the Royal Australian Navy equivalent to the U.S. Navy SEALs.

The 40-year-old could well have transitioned into a life of leisure since he had an impressive property portfolio back home.

Instead, Mander visited Africa for a six-month tour where he was exposed to the bloody world of illegal animal poaching in a journey through South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The eye-opening experience changed his life forever and convinced the veteran to devote his life to protecting wild creatures with no means to protect themselves from those who would track, hunt, and slaughter them and their parts for any price.

He told LADBible:

After Iraq I was looking for the next adventure and [a trip to Africa] just seemed like it was going to be a six-month thing to do.

When I travelled around the continent, I was inspired by the work that the rangers were doing.

They have something really worthwhile fighting for: giving up everything, being away from their family for so long each year defending the natural world.

I had just come from Iraq where we were looking after dotted lines on a map and resources in the ground and it made me reflect on who I was as a person.

It was at that point when the animal-loving war vet decided to sell off all of his properties back home to fund his new passion project: International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) and a ranger training academy in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Just as he once trained militia forces in Iraq his foundation now teaches rangers how to covertly track poachers, remain cloaked and camouflaged, conduct ambushes, carry out arrests, and preserve crime scenes.

While the work clearly draws from Mander’s military skills as a fighter, one of the most essential tools was one he learned during his occupation duties in the war-torn Middle East: to win over the hearts and minds of an often-hostile local population, a problem his military “failed” to grasp during the war.

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Earlier this year, Matt Shapira's beautiful artwork and generosity helped raise many yearly salaries for new recruits! Matt's elephant painting on a vintage map made it all the way to Zimbabwe, thanks to Erin Haley. She attended a fundraising event in Colorado hosted by Next Wave Impact and was outbid on one of Matt’s paintings. Afterwards, she got in touch with us to ask if she could commission a painting with her donation. Matt agreed. When it was ready to be shipped, she decided to gift it to the rangers as a token of appreciation for doing one of the hardest jobs there is: saving the natural world. The painting will be hanging in the new ops center being built as we speak. One of our goals is to create a reality in which elephants are treated as carefully as one of these century year-old vintage maps. Elephants, like any species, should be allowed to live out their lives as they wish, to their fullest extent. IAPF is hard at work, making this a reality for more and more wildlife each day. Happy World Elephant Day! #IAPF #Akashinga #WorldElephantDay #talesleftunsaid #elephants #africanelephant #trunksup #elephantlovers #jointheherd #conservation #savetheelephants #saynotopoaching #elephantlove #wildlifeconservation #endwildlifecrime #thisisafrica #bekindtoelephants #saveelephants #worthmorealive #stoppoaching @roaming__elephant @africanveganonabudget @damien_mander @kellyhazelking

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Mander explained:

Beyond the guns and ammo are the lessons I learned in Iraq that have really been the biggest benefit to what we do.

The ability to get the local population on side, get the hearts and minds, that’s more important than anything else and it’s something that we completely failed at in Iraq. We’re able to take those failures from Iraq and turn them into a positive.

So far his efforts have seen a 90% drop in rhino poaching activities in Kruger National Park—which lies along South Africa’s border with Mozambique—where the creatures are coveted by buyers and dealers for their valuable horns. Mander’s team was eventually able to drive out poachers entirely.

By 2016, rhino poaching had finally begun to drop for the first time in a decade. Mander said:

The rate of incursions of poachers into Kruger National Park, about 75 per cent of those were attributed as coming from Mozambique into Kruger and with the operations established on that side of the border that dropped to around 30 per cent.

We got a lot of credit for that, got a lot of kudos.

Further north in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls all attacks on rhinos were put to a halt thanks to the IAPF. However, there was no shortage of friction between the Aussie adventurer and poor locals.

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FIELD REPORT: Recently the International Anti-Poaching Foundation’s (IAPF) Akashinga rangers intercepted a team of three suspected poachers entering Zimbabwe’s World Heritage Listed Mana Pools National Park armed with cyanide, axes and knives. Further information passed to the Akashinga team resulted in a joint operation with the Minerals Flora & Fauna Unit (MFFU) of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), netting the arrest of a fourth suspect who allegedly supplied the cyanide to the would be poachers. Cyanide is sometimes used to kill elephants and other wildlife without force as it is cheap and quiet to use. It is placed near watering holes, on oranges or rock salt where the unsuspecting animals will be baited. The suspect being implicated of supplying the cyanide works in Mberengwa’s mining industry. Miners use cyanide concentrate during the separation process of gold from bulk ores. It exists in two forms, gas and crystal (see small white ‘balloons’ confiscated in photo above). This inhumane method of poaching works quickly, as cyanide cuts off the oxygen supply. Cyanide use in poaching is an ongoing problem in Zimbabwe so these types of arrests are a significant ‘win’ for wildlife. Cyanide is easily obtained illegally, so monitoring and protecting these areas remains a vigilant task. The suspects will appear in Kariba Magistrates Court. Thank you to all those involved in this operation. To support our continued work, please follow link in bio. #IAPF #Akashinga #antipoaching #rangers #wildlife #conservation #zimparks #racingextinction #savetheelephants #elephants #womenempowerment #womenwholead #africa #socialmovements #illegalwildlifetrade #stopivorytrade

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For Mander, the problems of prolonged conflict had begun to reveal themselves and it was necessary to change the strategic approach. He explained:

We had helicopters, drones, canine attack teams, military grade hardware [but] we had this ongoing conflict with the local population and while we might have won that battle overall, what we were doing was not sustainable.

We were saving rhinos and we were having a war with the local population on a continent that is going to have two billion people on it by 2040.

To get the support of the locals Mander decided to begin integrating female rangers into his team. Many of them are themselves victims of predatory attacks such as serious sexual assault, domestic violence, and gender violence in their communities.

The all-female units are now the most elite force within the foundation with 120 rangers having already carried out 140 arrests.

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Throwback Thursday alert! Remember when these amazing LEADRangers graduated? Here they are, celebrating right after the ceremony. We’re immensely proud that all participants persevered through to completion of the course. This is commendable, as there was a stringent selection process prior to attending—and the standards and pace remain high the whole time. After the graduation ceremony, they each returned to their own units across the continent as qualified instructors and leaders, ready to work with and train their fellow rangers with new lifesaving skills so they can more effectively end poaching and degradation of wild lands. Visit the link in our bio to learn more about their training, graduation, and a recap of what they've accomplished with their time at our LEADRanger facility. LEADRanger empowers the next generation of frontline conservation leaders⁣⁣. It is a collaborative initiative of @int.anti.poaching.foundation, the @thingreenlinefoundation, and @rangercampus⁣⁣. @lead_ranger @rangerboris @dominiquenoome ___________________ #IAPF #Akashinga #LEADRanger #TBT #throwbackthursday #standwithrangers #leadership #antipoaching #rangers #wildlife #conservation #racingextinction #elephants #wildlifeconservation #inspiration #animallove #protect #leadbyexample ⁣⁣#theresnoiinteam #wildlifeprotection ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣#lawenforcement⁣⁣ #humanrights⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣#savetheelephants #thisisafrica #illegalwildlifetrade #saynotoivory #defender #endwildlifecrime #myafrica #endangeredspecies

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Mander has a sharp message and basic appeal to the humanity of the poachers. He said:

We are one of millions of species on this planet but we’re the only one that determines what level of suffering and destruction is acceptable for all others.

We sit here talking about different species going extinct but the reality is if we don’t look after this one beautiful backyard we’ve been given it’s not the elephant or the rhino that’s going extinct; it’ll be us.

We need to decide if we want to be part of the future and if we do, we need to make changes.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animal World

Australia Is Dropping Vegetables From Choppers To Feed Wildlife Starved by Fires

Helicopters are dropping thousands of pounds of food for animals starving to death amid Australia’s fires.

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Photo Credit: Daily Mail

Elias Marat, The Mind Unleashed

As Australia’s bushfire crisis continues to impact wildlife, aircrafts have been deployed to feed thousands of starving wild animals who have been stranded by the blazes.

The government of the hard-hit state of New South Wales (NSW) has begun a campaign of airdrops across scorched regions, delivering thousands of pounds of root veggies —like carrots and sweet potatoes —from choppers flying above in a bid to sate the appetites of hungry colonies of brush-trailed rock wallabies, reports Daily Mail.

Dubbed “Operation Rock Wallaby,” the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s campaign is meant to help save the threatened marsupials from the growing danger of mass starvation.

Over the past week, the agency has conducted the food drops for rock wallaby colonies in various regions across the state. Nearly 5,000 pounds (2,200 kg) of fresh vegetables have already been delivered to the hungry native creatures.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said that although the wallabies have escaped the threat of the monstrous fires, their food sources remain scarce—or simply non-existent. The official explained:

“The wallabies typically survive the fire itself, but are then left stranded with limited natural food as the fire takes out the vegetation around their rocky habitat.

The wallabies were already under stress from the ongoing drought, making survival challenging for the wallabies without assistance.”

Kean added that they plan to follow up on how the animals progress as they continue recovery efforts following the raging bushfires. He said:

“When we can, we are also setting up cameras to monitor the uptake of the food and the number and variety of animals there.” 

Since the fire crisis broke out in September, at least 28 people have been killed and countless others forced to evacuate—often repeatedly—as the historic wave of bushfires ripped through 25.5 million acres (10.3 million hectares) of land, an area equal to the size of South Korea.

Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate that over 1 billion animals have been killed in the bushfires. Because the fires have extended to wetlands, dry eucalyptus forests, and even rainforests, many animals have been unable to find refuge in neighbouring regions.

Even prior to the fires, rock wallabies had been deemed an at-risk species due to the destruction of their habitats.

Experts have warned that the massive loss of life due to the fires threatens to cross a tipping-point for entire species of animals and plants on an island continent where 87% of wildlife is endemic to the country, meaning it can only be found on Australia.

Conservationist group the World Wildlife Fund Australia estimates that 1.25 billion animals have died due to the bushfire crisis. In a statement Tuesday, WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said:

“This heart-breaking loss includes thousands of precious koalas on the mid-north coast of NSW, along with other iconic species such as kangaroos, wallabies, gliders, potoroos, cockatoos and honeyeaters.

Many forests will take decades to recover and some species may have tipped over the brink of extinction. Until the fires subside, the full extent of damage will remain unknown.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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