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According to the Australian Koala Foundation, 30% of the nation’s Koalas have been lost to drought, bushfires, and logging in just three years. The population has dropped to 58,000 from more than 80,000 in 2018, and no regions saw positive population growth. These findings arrive just days after the country doubled down on its plans to advance coal production despite its impacts on the environment.
Why This Matters: One million species now face extinction, including 39 species listed as “endangered” or “critically endangered” by the IUCN Red List. In March 2021, the Australian government confirmed the extinction of 13 endemic species, confirming the nation’s first place spot for mammal extinction. The acceleration of climate change and its impacts now threatens to wipe out recently thriving species, and much sooner rather than later. And the sudden disappearance of keystone species threatens to destabilize ecosystems even further.
In the Old Gum Tree
Drought, bushfires, and logging are now the leading threats to koalas. “What we’re concerned about is places like western New South Wales where the drought over the last 10 years has just had this cumulative effect — river systems completely dry for years, river red gums, which are the lifeblood of koalas, dead,” explained Australian Koala Foundation Chair Deborah Tabart. In New South Wales, koala populations declined by a shocking 41%, and some regions are estimated to have just 5 to 10 individuals left. “I just think action is now imperative…these figures are right. They’re probably worse.”
Conservationists like Tabart are calling for the Australian government to implement protections for koalas. In June, the government called for public comments on a national recovery plan for populations in New South Wales, Queensland, and the Australian Capital Territory. They are also considering raising the species classification from “vulnerable” to “endangered.”
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Almost 1,000 of Florida’s manatees have died as of Oct.1 this year, setting a tragic record for the most deaths in a year, with two months left to go. Deaths were largely caused by starvation — the predator-less sea cows typically spend hours a day eating seagrass, but declining […]
Do you have a good eye? Are you surprisingly good at Where’s Waldo and like Walruses? If so, we have great opportunity for you! The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is seeking volunteers to help count Atlantic walruses…from space. Sea ice is retreating fast as global temperatures rise, forcing walruses to crowd on smaller floes […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer At a UN conference in Kunming, China, President Xi Jinping set aside $230 million to form a fund that preserves biodiversity in developing countries. This announcement was made at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity talks (COP15) which are dedicated to preserving delicate ecosystems and preventing plants and animals […]
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