The figure includes an estimated 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds, and 51 million frogs, a report commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
The number of reptiles is significantly higher than others as they are generally higher per hectare (10,000 sq m) than mammals or birds.
WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said, “The interim findings are shocking. It is difficult to think of any other incident anywhere in the world in which many animals have been killed or displaced.” “It is one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history.”
It was the worst fire season on record, with more than 15,000 fires in every Australian state, according to the report.
According to a statement from WWF, researchers are still working to finalize the report, titled “Australia’s 2019-2020 Bushfire: The Wildlife Toll”, but the figure of three billion is unlikely to change.
The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, University of Newcastle, Charles Sturt University and BirdLife Australia.
Professor Chris Dickman of the University of Sydney said, “When you think of the nearly three billion native animals that come in the path of fire, it’s totally huge, it’s hard to understand.”
Project Leader Lily Van Eden from the University of Sydney also said that the new report looks at the impact of the fire on 11.46 million hectares (28.32 million acres).
Van Eden said in a statement, “We believe that the number of animals that can be widely assessed has never been affected in Australia or anywhere else in the world.”
“Other nations can build this research to improve understanding of the effects of bushfires everywhere.”
“This will give other countries a window into the future of mega fires and their devastating impact on wildlife,” O’Gorman said.
Dickman called for policy changes, such as stopping “frantic land clearing” to reduce the risk of mega fires that erode the country’s biodiversity.
The authors called for improvements in habitat contact so that animals could move out of the way of fire. The report also stated that rapid response wildlife teams should be set up “which will act to minimize impacts on threatened species.”
According to the WWF the final report should be completed by the end of August.
Previous research concludes that there is a significant and immediate threat of extinction of Australia’s koala population after a fire.
According to a report released in March by the global conservation group International Fund for Animal Welfare, at least 5,000 colons are estimated to have died.