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Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo expert says some species at risk of extinction due to fires

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Despite some much-needed rain this week in Australia, officials say the fire danger is far from over.

A pair of massive bushfires merged into one large fire, engulfing New South Wales and Victoria in Australia.

Nearly 1.5 million acres have gone up in flames across Australia, and at least 28 people have died in the fires.

Some experts estimate the blaze has claimed the lives of more than a billion animals.

The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo has a portion of the zoo dedicated to animals of the outback in the Australian Adventure, as well as experts who have extensive knowledge to care for them.

"So Kangaroos and Koalas are your iconic, very cute species," Shelley Scherer, Area Curator of Central Zoo and Australian Adventure said.

"They should be OK for the most part. It's these very small populations of endangered specials that only have like 200 animals that inhabit a very small area, and that whole area has been wiped out by brush fires."

Species like the Kangaroo Island Dunnart, a small carnivorous marsupial the size of a mouse.

It's too soon to get to that area where this species lives, but experts fear the worst.

"I think there's a good chance we could lose several species that are critically endangered because their habitats are completely wiped out," Scherer said.

Once the fire is contained, the future is looking bleak.

"Even if the animal survives, there's no water. There's no food. There's no shelter," Scherer said.

"Continuing to survive after the fires are gone are slim as well."

If you'd like to help out, you can head to Zoo Victoria's website to donate.

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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