The mid-north coast of New South Wales was home to up to 28,000 koalas, but wildfires in the area in recent months have significantly reduced their population.
Koalas are native to Australia and are one of the country’s most beloved animals, but they've been under threat due to a loss of habitat.
“Up to 30 percent of their habitat has been destroyed,” Environment Minister Sussan Ley told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “We’ll know more when the fires are calmed down and a proper assessment can be made.”
Images shared of koalas drinking water after being rescued from the wildfires have gone viral on social media in recent days.
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Fire danger in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory was upgraded to severe on Saturday, as high temperatures built up over the region. Sydney’s western suburbs reached 106 Fahrenheit on Saturday, while the inner city is expected to hit 88 F on Sunday before reaching 95 F on Tuesday.
Two wildfires in New South Wales are at the "watch and act" level issued by fire services.
Canberra, Australia’s capital, peaked at 100 F on Saturday, with oppressive temperatures forecast for the next seven days.
Meanwhile, New South Wales Emergency Services Minister David Elliott has gone on an overseas family vacation in the wake of Prime Minister’s Scott Morrison’s much-criticized family trip to Hawaii recently.