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A new study supported by Panthera has officially confirmed that 17 million animals were killed in the 2020 wildfires in Brazilian Pantanal.

The study helped to conclude just how much wildlife was killed in the widespread fires that burned a quarter of the Brazilian Pantanal. The fires took the lives of an estimated 17 million animals and caused extensive habitat destruction.

The study also revealed the desperate need for better wildfire control systems as climate change is expected to only increase wildfire occurrences.

Lead author Walfrido Tomas, from Embrapa Pantanal, said, “Climate change is a major challenge for the Conservation of wetlands worldwide, and wildfire is an expected consequence of drier climate and more frequent extreme climate events such as this one seen in the Pantanal. Under this scenario, the establishment of proper fire use strategies is key to overcoming the cumulative impact of wildfire on the ecosystems. As the Pantanal is a tropical wet savanna, fire should never be excluded from the ecosystem nor be applied in the vegetation management practices in the wrong manner, in the wrong time of the year, in the wrong type of vegetation, and in an inadequate frequency.”

Scientists and animal welfare organizations hope that this horrific tragedy will help to push the importance of having wildfire protocols in place. In the hopes of limiting the damage of future wildfires.

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