Australia: koalas are officially threatened with extinction



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Australia: koalas are officially threatened with extinction

Now it's official, Australia has placed the koala on the endangered species list. At the origin of the decision the tragic thinning of the population due to the destruction of their habitat caused by the fires that in recent years have devastated the region, by a prolonged drought and by man-made deforestation for the exploitation of the territory.

According to the Australian Koala Foundation, as of 2018, around 30% of Australian koalas have been exterminated by bushfires, drought and logging. Their number is estimated to have dropped to less than 58,000 from more than 80,000 in 2018.

Its inclusion on the list of endangered animals adds priority in terms of koala conservation. Environment Minister Sussan Ley said today in response. to the criticisms, not heard until yesterday, of those who consider the government's action to be belated.

Premier Scott Morrison has announced investments of $ 35 million over four years for their protection. According to a study by the World Wide Fund for Nature, forest fires between late 2019 and early 2020, which destroyed more than 17 million hectares killed or injured more than 60,000 koalas.

But even before the fires, the koala habitat was threatened by logging for agriculture, urban development, mining and forestry. Koalas mainly inhabit eucalyptus forests in the eastern states and coastal areas. Environmental groups welcomed the decision, although they stressed that it should have happened much sooner.

We should never have allowed things to get to the point where we risk losing a national icon, said Josey Sharrad, manager of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Polar bear furs no longer find buyers

The polar bear or white bear is a large carnivorous mammal belonging to the Ursidae family.

It is a species found around the north pole in the Arctic Ocean and is the largest land-based carnivore on our planet along with the kodiak bear. The polar bear lives in the Arctic and its habitat is included in 6 countries: Canada (Manitoba, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Québec, Yukon), USA (Alaska), Russia (Krasnoyarsk, Magadan, Northwestern Federal District, Western Siberia, Yakutia), Greenland, Norway (Svalbard), Iceland.

The current polar bear population is estimated at 20-25,000, of which 60% are in Canada. The polar bear is the most meat-eating member of the Ursid family. Its primary protein source consists primarily of seals, but also cetaceans, walruses, molluscs, crabs, fish, even sea worms, birds, young eagles and owls, wolverines, polar foxes, reindeer and lemmings.

It can also eat berries and waste. As evidence of this, a polar bear is depicted on the Canadian 2 dollar coin. The polar bear has been classified as vulnerable by the IUCN, which placed it on its red list: the species faces extinction due to the climate crisis and global warming, which is destroying its natural habitat.