1. Home
  2. Agriculture World

How Climate Change has Pushed Koala into 'Endangered' Category

Habitat loss, sickness, 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 within breeding adults.

Shivam Dwivedi
Beautiful Picture of Koala
Beautiful Picture of Koala

As per sources, Australian government listed the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), the cuddly marsupial that is the country's icon, as 'Endangered' recently, in the states of Queensland and New South Wales, as well as the Australian Capital Territory.

According to Bloomberg Quint, the country's environment minister, Sussan Ley, "promised to work toward a national recovery strategy for koalas."

Habitat loss, sickness, 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 within breeding adults.

According to a survey commissioned by WWF-Australia, more than 60,000 koalas were among the creatures affected by the bushfires. 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 body in charge of scientific research, says the following about climate change's role in the 2019-20 wildfire season:

Although climate change does not directly cause fires, it has increased the occurrence of intense fire weather and the length of the fire season in significant portions of Australia since the 1950s. 2019 was not just Australia's driest year since records began in 1900, but it was also its warmest. In 2019, the yearly mean temperature was 1.52 degrees Celsius higher than average.

"As evaluated by the Forest Fire Danger Index, climate change has resulted in longer, more violent fire seasons and an increase in the average number of heightened fire weather days (FFDI). The biggest annual accumulated FFDI on record was recorded last year "It was also added.

Bushfires, as well as forest and wildland fires, have been on the rise around the world in recent decades as a result of global warming. Aside from 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 occurred in India as too, particularly in the Himalayas. Former Union Ministry of Earth Sciences secretary Madhavan Rajeevan informed-

“Heatwaves, dry temperatures, a lack of moisture, and a lot of dry leaf cover are the most common causes of forest fires in India. These, in my opinion, must be rising as drought conditions spread across the Himalayas. The temperature in the mountains is rising quicker than in the plains.”

According to Rajeevan, India lacks accurate documentation of forest fires across its area. "We don't consider these fires to be as critical as other occurrences like cyclones, monsoons, and heatwaves," he explained.

This isn't to say that Indians aren't interested in learning more about it. "The Indian Institute of Remote Sensing in Dehradun has done an outstanding job modelling such flames using satellite data," Rajeevan said. He went on to say that because of global warming, these fires would become more common in the future. And they'd do a lot of damage.

"Forest and bushfires would kill not only koalas but any slow-moving creatures that can't move quickly." Wildfires would eat reptiles, ground birds like as partridges and francolins, koalas, and sloths that are unable to flee," Ananda Banerjee, a wildlife conservationist with the Wildlife Trust of India, told DTE.

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

"We burn grasslands to rejuvenate grasses," he said, adding that forest fires would have a particularly negative impact on grassland habitats within India's protected zones. “Bird nesting trees have been burned down." All food sources have been destroyed, including cereals, worms, insects, and reptiles. "The entire network has been disrupted," he added.

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

(Source: Down To Earth)

Take a Quiz on Green Revolution Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters