CANBERRA, Feb. 4 : A vital wildlife refuge for threatened species on a South Australian island is under threat from a bushfire. Firefighting units from the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) were on Wednesday deployed to Kangaroo Island, south-west of Adelaide, where a fire is threatening a patch of bushland that was unaffected by the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires. The area is considered a refuge for Kangaroo Island’s diverse wildlife after more than 200,000 hectares of land – almost half the island – were burned during the Black Summer including 96 percent of Flinders Chase National Park.
It is home to the Kangaroo Island dunnart, glossy black cockatoo and southern brown bandicoot, all of which are threatened species that lost significant portions of their habitats in 2019-20. “This is the worst-case scenario for that bush. This is what we’ve feared all summer,” Pat Hodgens, a member of conservation group Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife, told The Guardian on Wednesday. “If we lose this, we lose the last refuge for all of these threatened species on western Kangaroo Island. “It is the most significant patch and if we lose this it will mean there’s no unburned vegetation left. The animals within it will be crucial for repopulation (of the surrounding bush) in years to come.
In July 2020 an independent review of Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBCA) warned of an “unsustainable” decline in the country’s biodiversity. It found that more than 80 percent of the Kangaroo Island dunnart’s habitat was affected by the Black Summer bushfires and called for an overhaul of conservation efforts. RSS(Xinhua)