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Australia: Thirsty Koala Stops Cyclist to Take a Drink Amid Heatwave
A video posted on Instagram by cyclist Anna Heusler shows the desperate marsupial climbing onto the frame of a bicycle to get a better sip.
The cyclists, who were riding towards Adelaide in 40°C (104°F) heat, spotted the koala as they came around a bend on the road. "Naturally, we stopped because we were going to help relocate him off the road," Heusler told Australia's 7 News, as reported in the New Zealand Herald.
A desperate koala suffering through the soaring temperatures in South Australia approached a group of cyclists to drink from a water bottle.https://t.co/jV9mM4xn9y— nzherald (@nzherald) December 28, 2019
"I stopped on my bike and he walked right up to me, quite quickly for a koala, and as I was giving him a drink from all our water bottles, he actually climbed up onto my bike.
"None of us have ever seen anything like it."
Koalas Suffering in Heat Wave
The pictures are heartwarming, but the incident also shows the dangers posed to the animals' existence by the current fire situation in the country. At least 2,000 koalas died in devastating and widespread bushfires across South Australia and the east coast of the continent, a parliamentary inquiry heard earlier in December.
The animals died either in bushfires or from starvation and dehydration afterwards, North East Forest Alliance president and ecologist Dailan Pugh told the inquiry.
Director of the Total Environment Centre Jeff Angel warned that the risk to koalas' survival was at emergency level due to the bushfires, which have caused loss of habitat for the marsupials. "We urge the government to do more, and quickly," Angel told News Ltd on Saturday.
The assessment of the situation facing Australia's koalas comes as its government drew criticism for a badly timed tourism campaign costing Aus$15 million ($10.5 million, €9.4 million). The campaign depicts scenes of cuddly koalas and blue skies — in stark contrast to current media images of Australia's inferno-like conditions.
Reposted with permission from DW.
- Thirsty Koala Becomes the Face of Australia's Heat Wave - EcoWatch ›
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Shawna Foo
Anyone who's tending a garden right now knows what extreme heat can do to plants. Heat is also a concern for an important form of underwater gardening: growing corals and "outplanting," or transplanting them to restore damaged reefs.
Coral Gardening<p>Coral reefs <a href="https://www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/marine-life/coral-reef-ecosystems" target="_blank">support over 25% of marine life</a> by providing food, shelter and a place for fish and other organisms to reproduce and raise young. Today, <a href="https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-ocean-heat-content" target="_blank">ocean warming driven by climate change</a> is stressing reefs worldwide.</p><p>Rising ocean temperatures cause <a href="https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/coralreef-climate.html#:%7E:text=Climate%20change%20leads%20to%3A,to%20the%20smothering%20of%20coral." target="_blank">bleaching events</a> – episodes in which corals expel the algae that live inside them and provide the corals with most of their food, as well as their vibrant colors. When corals lose their algae, they become less resistant to stressors such as disease and eventually may die.</p><p>Hundreds of organizations worldwide are working to restore damaged coral reefs by growing thousands of small coral fragments in nurseries, which may be onshore in laboratories or in the ocean near degraded reefs. Then scuba divers physically plant them at restoration sites.</p>
Sea surface temperatures on Aug. 3, 2020, measured from satellites. Warning = possible bleaching; Alert Level 1 = significant bleaching likely; Alert Level 2 = severe bleaching and significant mortality likely. NOAA Coral Reef Watch
Warmer Oceans<p>Climate scientists project that the oceans will <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/03/ar5_wgII_spm_en-1.pdf" target="_blank">warm up to 3˚C</a> by the year 2100. Scientists are working to create coral outplants that can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1721415116" target="_blank">better survive increases in temperature</a>, which could help to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.1978" target="_blank">increase restoration success</a> in the future.</p><p>When coral restoration experts choose where to outplant, they typically consider what's on the seafloor, algae that could smother coral, predators that eat coral and the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.1792" target="_blank">presence of fish</a>. Our study shows that using temperature data and other information collected remotely from airplanes and satellites could help to <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2019.00079" target="_blank">optimize this process</a>. Remote sensing, which scientists have used to study coral reefs for almost 40 years, can provide information on much larger scales than water surveys.</p><p>Coral reefs face an uncertain future and may not recover naturally from human-caused climate change. Conserving them will require reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting key habitats and actively restoring reefs. I hope that our research on temperature will help increase coral outplant survival and restoration success.</p><p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shawna-foo-1136932" target="_blank">Shawna Foo</a> is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Arizona State University. </em></p><p><em>Disclosure statement: Shawna Foo receives funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/ocean-warming-threatens-coral-reefs-and-soon-could-make-it-harder-to-restore-them-142876" target="_blank" style="">The Conversation</a>.</em><em></em></p>
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