Year-ender: Top climate-related stories of 2019 | Updated: 2019-12-24 06:40
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More than 2,000 koalas die in Australian bush fires

Fire and Rescue NSW team rescue a Koala from fire in Jacky Bulbin Flat, New South Wales, Australia November 21, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media. [Photo/Agencies]

More than 2,000 koala bears have tragically died and more are feared dead as the Australian bush fires continue to rip through New South Wales.

Experts said the blaze has ravaged koala habitat so rapidly that "we will probably never find the bodies", after thousands of hectares of habitat were destroyed.

Nearly 100 wildfires are burning across New South Wales, scorching more than 5.3 million acres of land and shrouding Sydney beneath a potentially deadly cloak of toxic smog. The bush fires are largely enhanced by climate-change-driven drought and increasing temperatures.

A number of the most serious fires have merged into a larger fire complex with a fire front about 35 to 40 miles northwest of Sydney. Fires in the northern part of the complex are "out of control."

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