How many animals have died?About half a billion animals have been affected by the fires across NSW, with millions likely dead -- and that's a conservative estimate. That number could be as high as one billion nationwide, according to ecologists from the University of Sydney.The figures for NSW include birds, reptiles, and mammals, except bats. It also excludes insects and frogs, so the real sum is almost certain to be higher, the ecologists said.Almost a third of koalas in NSW may have been killed in the fires, and a third of their habitat has been destroyed, said Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.Some species, like koalas, aren't in any immediate danger of extinction because they are spread out across the country, said the university ecologists. But others that live in more niche environments with lower populations, including certain types of frogs and birds, could be wiped out entirely if their habitats are hit by the fires.These are pretty good estimates based on previous research on population density -- but until the fires stop, researchers have no way of surveying just how extensive the damage is, and exactly how many animals have died.
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