Up to 30% of koalas may have died in bush fires

Koala populations were already at risk before a third were possibly wiped out by wildfires

BRISBANE, Australia – Koala populations are at risk -- and a large portion may have died in the Australian wildfires.

The Federal Environment Minister said Friday that up to 30% may have been killed in the bush fires in New South Wales.

She says wildfires have torched up to 30% of their habitat.

Once the fires are extinguished, officials will have exact numbers.

The environment minister said Australia is working with koala experts.

$6 million has also been allocated to establish corridors and plans for releasing animals that have been hospitalized.

According to the Australia Zoo, there were only about 40,000 to 100,000 koalas remaining after “uncontrolled habitat destruction.”

The zoo said bush fires, habitat clearing, dog attacks and road accidents have contributed to the loss of koalas.

The animals are now considered endangered.