The images of horribly burned animals that have emerged from the Australian bushfires are certainly heartbreaking, but the unholy glee with which green-left activists have rushed to exploit such suffering is disgraceful. While it might be excused as politics-as-normal to never let a good crisis go to waste, the Greens’ vulturine opportunism is as distasteful as jumping up to call dibs on grandma’s silverware while she’s still warm.

There’s no doubt that the images of burned and suffering animals are horrific. But that’s no excuse for the screeching nonsense of those who claim, for instance, that koalas are going to go extinct. Indeed, the unholy speed with which the green-left wheeled out that particular bandwagon – at practically the first sign of smoke – suggests that this is simply a pre-formatted narrative.

But, as always, an eco-lie gets tweeted around the world before the facts even find their socks.

Despite thousands of koalas being killed across the country in this devastating bushfire season, experts say it is unlikely the species will be extinct any time soon.

The full extent of the death toll is yet to be assessed, but according to the University of Sydney, about 8000 koalas have died as a result of the fires in NSW — nearly one-third of the state’s koala population — and 25,000 are believed to have been killed on Kangaroo Island, about half the estimated koala population of the island.

It should be remembered that, prior to the fires, Kangaroo Island was facing a very different eco-catastrophe, as over-breeding koalas neared plague proportions.

Desley Whisson, a senior lecturer in wildlife and conservation biology at Deakin University, said while the bushfires may cause localised extinction there was not yet a threat of extinction on a national scale. “We’ve got too many healthy populations elsewhere for extinction to happen at a national level,” Ms Whisson said.

[…]A report from a parliamentary inquiry in July last year recommended SA declare koalas “over-abundant” and culling was floated as a potential solution.

“It’s interesting that everyone has been jumping on the significant number of koala deaths on Kangaroo Island when just a few months ago people were saying they should be culled due to over-abundance,” Ms Whisson said.

One problem with the extinction narrative – as indeed with the whole nonsense of a made-up “Sixth Extinction” – is that there’s very little hard evidence at all to back it up.

Ben Moore, a senior lecturer at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University, said […]the unreliability of population estimates made it difficult to calculate the actual numbers of koalas lost to the bushfires, but he said these losses compounded those caused by the ongoing drought […]“They’re not going to be extinct globally but there will certainly be regional extinctions.”

Since May 2012, koalas have been listed as vulnerable in Queensland, NSW and the ACT because populations in these regions have declined significantly or are at risk of doing so.

In Victoria and South Australia however, where populations are larger, the koala is considered a common animal and female koalas on Kangaroo Island have been sterilised in the past to slow breeding as high population numbers were damaging the landscape.

The sight of badly burned koalas is distressing, and no one could be indifferent. But that certainly doesn’t justify flocking to the burned bodies of native animals like crows to roadkill, just to peddle a cheap political agenda.

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