Friday, April 28, 2017

How Koalas Are Being Affected by Climate Change




BY ALEXIS STEFFENS
EDITED BY BENJAMIN LEVESQUE

      Koalas are critically endangered at this point in time, and are at risk of going extinct from climate change caused by the humans of today. About 91% of CO2 emissions are from people, and the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere every year is increasing and will keep increasing. If we don't find a way to help these little creatures, they will surely go extinct.

(pbs.org)

     Since 1778, 65 percent of koala’s forests have been cleared, and the remaining 35 percent is under threat from land clearing for agriculture and urban development (theguardian.com). This forces koalas to search for a new home and leads to more overall deaths. Another reason why the koalas are in search of a new home is because they need more eucalyptus leaves, which are the main source of their diet. Climate change is affecting the nutritional value of the eucalyptus leaf which is the main part of a koala's diet. Koalas need to consume 500 grams of the leaf each day in order to stay healthy and survive, and since the CO2 has affected the value it makes the Koalas eat more. This is what causes them to look for more of the leaf elsewhere: if they don't get enough of the leaf this can result in malnutrition and starvation.
        Human-induced climate change has lead to reduced rainfall levels, increased evaporation rates, and an overall temperature increase of about 1° C (33.8° F). By the year 2030, this will affect koalas greatly because they can't adapt quickly, the high number of droughts will force these precious creatures to descend from trees in search of water and a new habitat. This will make them increasingly vulnerable to wild and domestic predators, as well as road traffic, and will likely result in higher death tolls.
      It's important people start to take action to stop more koalas from dying. As much as we may want to stop climate change, the reality is that we’re going to need to slow it down first; with some effort we can slow our emissions of carbon dioxide down enough to make it easier for the koalas so they have a higher chance of survival.
     
Works Cited
Platt, John R. “Climate Change Could Turn Up Heat on Already Vulnerable Koalas.” Pbs.org. THIRTEEN, 19, SEP, 2016, Web. 6, APR, 2017.

Bhandari, Neena. “Climate Change Compounds Rising Threats To Koala.” Theguardian.com. Guardian News, 30 Apr. 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2017.

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