The full extent of the animal death toll from the on-going bushfire crisis may not be known, or fully grasped, for some time yet, even though rough, conservative estimates from experts suggest that hundreds of millions of animals may have been killed in the blazes. However, an ABC cameraman has captured a small slice of just how truly horrific the loss of animal life is in amongst areas that have felt the full force of the fire fury.
Walkley Award-winning photojournalist Matt Roberts posted video and still imagery from the drive into Batlow in southern NSW this morning, capturing a haunting and deeply tragic scene with literal dozens and dozens of animal bodies strewn across the ground either side of a very short span of road.
A warning: The below images are extremely graphic, but the story they tell is one of vital, gut-wrenching importance.
Roberts himself has family in Batlow, including a sister who lost her family home in the blaze that ripped through the town in the early hours of New Year’s Eve. A verified crowd funding campaign aimed at raising money for the family has been launched via GoFundMe.
Batlow has been hit particularly hard by the blazes. Overnight, a 47-year-old Goulburn man died after suffering a heart attack while defending a mate’s property on the outskirts of the town.
Firefighters have been working tirelessly across the town, which is virtually surrounded by one of several mega-blazes burning across the country. Some 20 houses are believed to have been lost in the town, however major infrastructure such as the hospital and the local school have thus far been protected.