PORT MACQUARIE, NSW, Australia - The catastrophic bushfires raging across parts of the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland have caused the loss of human lives and widespread destruction.
Three people have died, while dozens more have been injured, and in excess of 150 homes have been destroyed.
Wildlife too is paying a significant cost.
Up to 350 koalas are estimated to have died in fires along the New South Wales mid-north coast, principally around Port Macquarie, according to Koala Conservation Australia President Sue Ashton.
A reserve, which housed a colony of as many as 600 koalas, lost most of its habitat last week, a report by The Sydney Morning Herald says.
"We think most of the animals were incinerated, it's like a cremation," Ms Ashton told the Herald. "They have been burnt to ashes in the trees."
The Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie has been processing badly burnt koalas and on Sunday posted a note of thanks on Twitter to its supporters.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald article penned by Helen Pitt injured koalas are being fed eucalyptus leaves and formula, and having wounds bandaged.
"Our clinical director Cheyne Flanagan says we will be pushing up daisies before this koala colony recovers to their previous numbers," Ms was quoted as saying.
James Tremain, a spokesman for the NSW Nature Conservation Council, said koalas across the state were very vulnerable to bushfires, while the widespread destruction of their habitat as farming and housing expanded was also a threat.
"Port Macquarie had one of the healthiest koala populations in the state," Mr Tremain told `The Sydney Morning Herald. "If we continue at this rate, koalas will be extinct by 2050."
(Photo credit: Gladstone Observer).