Climate change

How climate change pushed the koala into the ‘endangered’ category

Beautiful picture of Koala

According to the sources, the Australian government has listed the the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), the cuddly marsupial that is the country’s icon, as well as “In danger” recently in the states of Queensland and New South Wales, as well as in the Australian Capital Territory.

According to Bloomberg Quint, the country’s environment minister, Sussan Ley, “promised to work on a national koala recovery strategy.”

Habitat loss, disease and, most importantly, bushfires have all harmed the koala in recent years. Chlamydia, a bacterial disease that causes infertility in koalas, has wreaked havoc on their numbers by developing cysts in breeding adults.

More than 60,000 koalas were among the creatures affected by the bushfires, according to a survey commissioned by WWF-Australia. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, there are currently fewer than 500,000 left in the wild, according to a Bloomberg Quint article. According to the Australian Koala Foundation, the true population could be as low as 60,000.

Climate change

On its website, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), an Australian government agency responsible for scientific research, says the following about the role of climate change in the 2019-20 wildfire season:

Although climate change does not directly cause fires, it has increased the frequency of intense fires and the length of the fire season in significant parts of Australia since the 1950s. 2019 has not only been the Australia’s driest year since records began in 1900, but also the hottest. In 2019, the annual average temperature was 1.52 degrees Celsius above average.

“As assessed by the Forest Fire Danger Index, climate change has led to longer and more violent fire seasons and an increase in the average number of increased fire weather days (FFDI). largest accumulated annual FFDI ever recorded was recorded last year”It was also added.

Bushfires, as well as forest and vegetation fires, have increased around the world in recent decades due to global warming. In addition to Australia, comparable phenomena have recently occurred in California, the Pacific Northwest of the United States, British Columbia, Siberia, North Africa, Greece and Italy.

Indian scenario:

Such incidents have also occurred in India, particularly in the Himalayas. Former Union Earth Science Ministry Secretary Madhavan Rajeevan informed-

“Heat waves, dry temperatures, lack of humidity and a large cover of dry leaves are the most common causes of forest fires in India. These, in my opinion, must increase as conditions Droughts are spreading in the Himalayas.The temperature in the mountains is rising faster than in the plains.

According to Rajeevan, India lacks accurate documentation of forest fires in its region. “We don’t consider these fires as critical as other events like cyclones, monsoons and heat waves,” he explained.

That’s not to say Indians aren’t interested in knowing more about it. “The Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun has done a remarkable job in modeling these flames using satellite data,” said Rajeevan. He went on to say that due to global warming, these fires will become more frequent in the future. And they would do a lot of damage.

“Forest and bushfires would not only kill koalas, but all slow-moving creatures that cannot move quickly.” Wildfires would devour reptiles, land birds like partridges and francolins, koalas and sloths unable to flee,” Ananda Banerjee, a wildlife advocate at the Wildlife Trust of India, told DTE.

“Instead of focusing on lower taxa, we frequently focus on charismatic species” (amphibians, reptiles, etc.). However, the effects of climate change are first felt by them and go unnoticed,” Banerjee explained.

“We burn the meadows to rejuvenate the grasses”, he said, adding that wildfires would have a particularly negative impact on grassland habitats in India’s protected areas. “Bird nesting trees have been set on fire.” All food sources were destroyed, including grain, worms, insects and reptiles. “The entire network has been disrupted”, he added.

Koala numbers and the environment in New South Wales, a report created for the New South Wales government in June 2020, said that without proper support, koalas would disappear in the state by 2050.

(Source: down to earth)