Tag Archives: marsupial

Koalas are ‘endangered’ in many parts of Australia, but we can stop that | Instant News


First of all: is the koala really at risk of extinction or is it damaged?

We don’t know exactly how many koalas were in Australia when the Europeans arrived.

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But to find out how many were in Australia in the mid to late 1800s, records from the koala fur trade tell a surprising story.

In Queensland itself, 500,000 skins were collected in 31 days from the last open season in 1927.

Across Australia, as many as 8 million koalas were killed for their skins during the late 1800s and early 1900s, according to the Australian Koala Foundation.

Most of it is sent to Europe, the UK and the US to be turned into coats, gloves and hats, according to koala ecologist Frank Carrick of the University of Queensland (UQ).

“There was a massive fur trade to Europe and especially to Britain in the late 1800s. There were millions [of export skins] recorded, “said Professor Carrick.

Millions of koalas were killed for their skins during the late 1800s and early 1900s.(Provided: Australian Koala Foundation)

Currently, our best estimates for the current number of koalas come from a 2012 study by UQ’s Christine Hosking, and her colleagues.

They calculated that there were about 330,000 koalas left in Australia, although given the difficulty of counting them, the margin of error ranged from 144,000 to 605,000.

Dr Hosking and colleagues found that in the 21 years preceding 2012 and projected over the next 21 years, Queensland’s koala population will more than halve, and in New South Wales it will fall by 26 percent.

Victoria, South Australia and the ACT will see significant, but smaller, decline.

So is it fair to say koalas are at risk of extinction? Koala expert and zoologist Bill Ellis from the University of Queensland says many parts of Australia, especially Queensland and New South Wales, are:

“The short answer is yes, we should be very worried,” said Dr Ellis.

Professor Carrick agreed: “They are in trouble, [but] it’s not a lost cause, “he said.

So how do we stop the koalas’ decline?

Number one priority

Excavator in between housing clearing trees.
Koala researchers say habitat destruction needs to stop if we are to prevent koalas from extinction.(ABC News: Stephanie Zillman)

It helps to think about the actions needed to preserve the koala as a hierarchy.

Of utmost importance – priority number one – is stopping habitat loss, according to koala microbiologist Peter Timms of the University of the Sunshine Coast.

That includes restoring degraded habitats and creating connectivity between patches.

“Habitat [loss] is the number one threat. If they don’t get a tree, nothing matters, “said Professor Timms.

Researchers have outlined several approaches to this problem, depending on whether we are talking about a rural or urban environment.

In urban environments, where the main threats are housing, industrial infrastructure and roads, preserving koala habitat needs to be a priority over development, according to Dr Hosking.

That means giving koalas a dollar value and a healthy environment.

“It’s not too late [to re-establish wildlife corridors] but it really comes back to the political will. Until the government is willing to say, ‘no, you can’t clean up there, but we’ll pay you to reforest’… that’s not going to happen. “

Small eucalyptus seeds.
Re-establishing wildlife corridors can help koalas and other wildlife move safely between food plots.(ABC News: Kerrin Thomas)

In rural areas, the pressure on koalas comes mostly from clearing land for agriculture and mining.

In many cases, regrowth is cleared to make pasture for livestock. For a farmer, allowing that regrowth to become forest means losing grazing area and income.

The large-scale solution proposed by many koala ecologists like Dr Ellis is to pay farmers to restore and maintain koala habitat.

“The real future here could be an incentive for people to include koala habitat on their land,” he said.

“There’s a lot of good farmland, but you don’t want to go bankrupt [farmers]. You want to make it feasible to have koala habitat in their country. “

He said farmers fear their land will be locked up and “pushed against the wall”.

And Dr Hosking agrees: “Money speaks. [Farmers] must have a reason for doing so. If there is an entry dollar value [standing] tree, they’ll stop pushing it. “

Priority 2, 3, 4, 5 …

A koala on a burning tree.
Wildfires are an increasing threat to koalas, especially in the southern states. But habitat connectivity allows areas to be repopulated after fires.(Provided: WIRES)

The reason habitat loss is priority number one is because almost all other threats are exacerbated by it.

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Koalas are more likely to be hit by cars if their habitat is fragmented by roads and they are forced to travel between patches in search of food.

They are more likely to encounter dogs when the urban environment interferes with their space.

And they are more prone to diseases like chlamydia when stressed.

Climate change and more intense bushfires and drought are other causes of koala decline, especially in inland areas where summer temperatures are becoming more severe, said Dr Hosking.

Expanding habitat and connectivity provides resilience to forest fires and means populations can regenerate from patches that don’t burn.

And while that can only help fight climate change, more trees means more carbon reduction.

Although tackling climate change is a long-term challenge, there is some more promising news regarding tackling chlamydia.

Sleepy koala on a purple towel.
Chlamydia is a disease that causes a variety of problems in koalas, including infertility and blindness.(ABC: Matt Wordsworth)

Even though chlamydia was already in the koala population when the Europeans arrived, we might make things worse, according to Professor Timms.

“The chlamydia in koalas is very similar to the chlamydia in sheep and cattle,” he said.

“There is little science to suggest that we might make things worse by bringing in [livestock]. “

But at least one vaccine is almost ready to launch, according to Professor Timms.

His laboratory at USC has been developing a single-shot vaccine over the past 10 years, with “very promising” results.

“We did a trial where we administered a vaccine to animals that were already infected with the disease. In six out of seven koalas it actually cured the disease and they could be released back into the wild without using antibiotics, which can have serious side effects,” he said.

It also appears to prevent disease in infected animals before they start showing symptoms, he added.

“We are now at a stage where we think that 90 percent of the basic research work has been completed. I am eager now to move this from the lab and into the real world,” said Professor Timms.

While restoring and protecting habitat is essential for koalas’ long-term survival, vaccines can help buy us some time.

“If you can stop these populations from becoming infertile then their reproductive rates will start to rise,” he said.

Pay attention to Catalyst’s Are We Killing Our Koalas? on iview now.

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Koala rescued after a stack of 5 cars on an Australian freeway | Strange news | Instant News


CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – A koala has been rescued after causing a pile of five cars while trying to cross a six-lane highway in southern Australia.

Police said an accident in heavy traffic Monday morning in the city of Adelaide caused several injuries but no one needed an ambulance.

The animal rescuer said he got out of his car to investigate what caused the pile. Nadia Tugwell, coat in hand, teamed up with the stranger holding the blanket to catch the marsupial. The concrete highway divider has blocked the koala crossing.

“The koala wasn’t completely damaged at all,” said Tugwell. “It’s very active, but very quiet.”

Once the koala was in its trunk, Tugwell went to the gas station to hand the animal over to a wildlife rescuer. For a while, the koala can climb from the trunk to the cabin of his SUV.

“He decided to come up front at me, so I said, ‘OK, you stay here. I’m going out, ‘”he said.

“It started sitting for a while at the wheel: (as if) saying: ‘let’s go for a walk,’ and that’s when I started taking photos,” he added.

Tugwell said he has learned from past experiences how to soothe koalas by covering their eyes. He lives near a eucalyptus forest outside Adelaide and has twice called in veterinarians to rescue koalas that have been injured in fights with other koalas.

“I live in the hills, and if you let them do what they want to do and you don’t go after them or anything, they’re fine,” said Tugwell.

The leather trim on his luxury vehicle was scratched by the animal, but Tugwell said the happy ending was worth the damage.

The koalas are then released in the forest – away from the freeway.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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More than 60,000 koalas affected by Australian ‘Black Summer’ bush fires | National | Instant News


SYDNEY – More than 60,000 koalas were among the animals affected by Australia’s devastating 2019-20 summer bushfires, according to a report released Monday.

The latest forest fire impact report by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia found that in all nearly 3 billion animals were on the path of the fires that burned up to 19 million hectares in southern and eastern Australia.

Koalas in the states of New South Wales and Queensland were experiencing rapid decline before the fires.

The impacts of “Black Summer” on native species include death, injury, trauma, smoke inhalation, heat stress, dehydration and loss of habitat.

The report also revealed that about 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 181 million birds and 51 million frogs were in the areas affected by the flames.

The figures remain unchanged from the July interim report.

WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said nearly 3 billion animals affected were “off the list.”

He announced that his organization is working on an “Australian Regeneration” plan, which includes “a bold vision to double the number of koalas in eastern Australia by 2050.”

“WWF is determined to help restore wildlife and habitat, rejuvenate communities affected by bushfires, promote sustainable agriculture and prove the future of our country,” said O’Gorman.

He said the number of koalas affected was “very disturbing” for a species already in trouble.

Under the “Koala Forever” plan, WWF-Australia will experiment with seed-spreading drones to create koala corridors and set up funds to encourage landowners to create safe koala shelters.

(c) 2020 German Press Agency GmbH (Hamburg, Germany)

PHOTO (for assistance with images, call 312-222-4194): ENV-AUSTRALIA-FIRES-KOALAS

Copyright 2020 Tribune Content Agency.

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Endangered possums take refuge in back gardens in western Australia | Instant News


By Jake Buehler

Western ring-tailed possum resting on a weeping peppermint tree in Busselton, Western Australia

Steven David Miller / naturepl.com

In a residential neighborhood of western Australia, an endangered marsupial make themselves at home in a private garden. This urban environment acts as a much needed refuge, as its habitat has been reduced by human activity and natural predators.

Western ring-tailed possum (Pseudocheirus occidentalis) are nocturnal, cat-sized creatures that live in trees and shrubs and eat leaves and fruit. They were once distributed over much of southwestern Australia, but habitat loss and prey by invasive red foxes have dramatically reduced their range to three …

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