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Tea Leaves

Australia's firestorm is a wildlife disaster

More than 1 billion animals are feared to have died, and many more will follow

An injured koala looks on while being treated at the Wildlife Emergency Response Centre on Australia's Kangaroo Island on Jan. 19.    © Reuters

Six months ago, koalas were so abundant in the wildlife paradise of Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia, that authorities were being urged to consider a cull. Today, up to 25,000 koalas -- half the island's population of the bear-like marsupial -- are feared dead in the bushfires that have raged across much of the country in recent weeks.

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