Australian govt failed to take 'appropriate actions' to protect wildlife - expert

The Australian government is being accused of failing to listen to pleas from experts about the links between climate change and extreme fire events.

Wildfires have torn through six million hectares of land, which is predicted to put millions of species at risk.

Euan Ritchie, associate professor of wildlife ecology at Deakin University, says the government isn't equipped to handle the ecological impact of the fires.

"Ecologically, but also in a social sense and in a community sense,  unfortunately our government hasn't taken the appropriate actions to really protect us from the environmental impact, as well as the impact on humans and infrastructure," Ritchie told Newshub.

He said animals' lives will still be at risk, even if they manage to live through the devastating blazes.

"Even if animals can survive  the fire - such as birds, that can flee the area - they may then come back, or attempt to come back, and find that their habitat has been destroyed and then subsequently die. "

Despite the hardship of the animals, Ritchie warned people against offering food to them.

"Putting out the inappropriate food in the environment can actually cause other problems for the wildlife so we don't encourage people to do that."

On Kangaroo Island, off the mainland of South Australia, there are fears that around 25,000 koalas have been killed by the blazes. 

Meanwhile, experts have struggled to keep up with providing care for animals injured in the fires.

The famous Australia Zoo has been inundated with cases, as wildlife is flown there to receive specialist care.

The zoo's owner, Terri Irwin - wife of the late Steve Irwin - said the zoo's hospital team had been working around the clock to save animals.

Firefighters have been stretched to breaking point in fighting the fires, with Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing over the weekend that Defence Force Reserves would also be deployed to fire zones to give assistance. 

Fire crews from New Zealand have also been sent over the Tasman to lend a hand.

At least 25 people have died in the blazes so far.