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Outdoor Updates: Half a billion animals have been killed in Australia’s wildfires

A Whiptail Wallaby, macropus parryi, kangaroo with a baby joey in her pouch standing in recently burned out Australian outback bushland.

Half a billion animals have been killed in Australia’s wildfires

Fires raging across the continent of Australia have killed an estimated 500 million animals, including 8,000 koalas, ecologists say. The fires, which began in September, have charred birds, mammals and reptiles and threaten to wipe out entire species in a country that already has the world’s highest extinction rate. CNBC describes the current situation on the ground in southeast Australia as a “charred, apocalyptic nightmare.”

Australia’s fires are stoked by record high temperatures and drought exacerbated by climate change. The fires are expected to worsen as the southern hemisphere moves deeper into the summer months. 

If you want to do something to help, donate to Australia’s Red Cross here: https://www.redcross.org.au/

Roads and campgrounds temporarily closed in Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests

The U.S. Forest Service is closing roads in Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. The seasonal road closures affect five districts and are primarily put in place to reduce damage from winter weather and disturbance to wildlife. Though closed to motor vehicles, the roads are still open to hiking. Click here for a full list of road closures.

Additionally, the U.S. Forest Service will temporarily close Davidson River Campground in Pisgah National Forest beginning January 15 to remove hazard trees affected by a fungus. The campground will remain closed until February 15. 

Reward offered for arrest of person responsible for shooting bald eagle in Tennessee

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating a shooting of a bald eagle in Decatur County, Tennessee. The eagle was found off Martins Landing Road in Bath Springs on December 30. The injured eagle was transported to an animal hospital on December 31 where it was determined the eagle could not recover from its injuries and it was euthanized.

A reward of $2,500 is offered for information leading to an arrest. Bald Eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Violations of these acts carry a maximum criminal penalty of up to $100,000 and/or up to one year in federal prison.

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