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Koalas Are Near Total Extinction Due to Australia Bushfires, Wildlife Expert Warns

The death toll in the blaze has reached apocalyptic proportions in regard to the koala population.

Elias Marat

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Koalas Near Total Extinction

(TMU) — The beloved koala is feared to be on the brink of total annihilation as wildfires continue to grip Australia, laying waste to the marsupials’ natural habitat.

While experts initially feared that hundreds of koalas died in the devastating bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland over the last two months, Deborah Tabart—chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation—estimates that over 1,000 of the creatures have been killed in the deforestation and blazes.

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Now more than ever, this has left koalas “functionally extinct” and thus unable to recover, she told Daily Mail Australia.

According to BBC, the term functionally extinct describes an animal population which has so few pairs that they are unlikely to produce a new generation. It also describes species who breed in such thinned-out amounts that they are especially susceptible to falling ill from disease.

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Tabart explained that the death toll in the ongoing blaze has likely reached apocalyptic proportions in regard to the koala population. She said:

“If we combine all of the estimated deaths of koalas in the bushfires, there could be 1000 koalas that have been killed in the last two months.

We know there are 31 koalas that have been killed in Port Macquarie, but I think that is not a high enough number.”

The koala expert also noted that at least 350 koalas were likely killed in the bushfires near the coastal township of Port Macquarie.

We are getting lots of contact from people asking how the burnt koalas are progressing. This is Lake Innes Nature…

Posted by Koala Hospital Port Macquarie on Thursday, November 21, 2019

Similarly frightful fires have plagued koala habitats in places like Crows Nest and Lake Toowoomba, but a full account of dead koalas has yet to be taken into account.

Tabart fears the worst:

“We think there are 18,000 koalas in New South Wales alone, so the bushfires have had a massive impact on their population.”

And while some koalas may have survived, this doesn’t lessen the long-term risk the species faces. Tabart added:

“Because of deforestation and now the bushfires, there is so little habitat left and trees with eucalyptus take months to grow back.”

Climate change and arid conditions are also a threat to the koalas’ habitat, decreasing the likelihood of any recovery. The next quarter-century is not expected to entail much rain in the western regions of NSW.

This is L.I.N.R. Peter ( Lake Innes Nature Reserve) who has come from the Crestwood/Lake Innes fireground. He has burns…

Posted by Koala Hospital Port Macquarie on Monday, November 4, 2019

Koalas remain an internationally-recognized symbol of Australia that was even featured as the mascot for last year’s Commonwealth Games.

However, Tabart has accused the government of failing to offer proper protections to the species, such as passing the Koala Protection act written in 2016. She explained:

“They are equivalent to the Great Barrier Reef. Everyone wants to touch a koala, so you would think the government would want to do something to save them.

The plight of the Koala now falls on the Prime Minister’s shoulders.”

Koala hospitals have been inundated with badly injured and burned koalas, drawing the support of volunteers across the country.

Koala Hospital Port Macquarie team leader Amanda Gordon told Newshub that koala bodies are simply not turning up, which means that the population was likely decimated. She said:

“We’ve got teams going out on the fire grounds still as we speak, looking for wildlife. We are not seeing a lot, which means they’ve been burnt.”

Gordon’s hospital has raised over $1 million to help the injured marsupials—far more than the initial fundraising goal of $25,000.

Their campaign hopes to install automatic drinking stations for koalas in the areas devastated by the fires.

Donations began pouring in after dramatic footage emerged of a woman running into a raging brushfire to save an injured koala named Ellenborough Lewis. Video showed the koala, badly burned with patches of fur missing, running near the fires before the woman, Toni Doherty, saved him by pouring bottles of water on him and wrapping him in a blanket.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

Animals

Police Rescue Dogs Trapped In Car on Sizzling Hot Day, Owners Complain About Broken Window

Elias Marat

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Police in the UK acted quickly to save a two dogs locked inside a car in sizzling hot temperatures by smashing open a window, upsetting the car’s owner over the damage.

Officers responded Sunday to reports that a beagle and another dog were trapped in a car parked in the seaside British city of Brighton on a day of boiling heat.

In video captured of the incident, an officer can be seen jamming his baton through a rear window before finally shattering it to free the pooches.

This prompts the car alarm to go off as the car’s owners can be seen rushing toward it, upset over the police intervention.

A woman, standing with her shocked family, says: “You broke my window out!”

One of the officer responded: “It’s a hot day. You shouldn’t be leaving the dog in the car in this weather.”

The incident happened on a day when people across the region flock to the seaside resort city to dip into the beaches amid surging hot temperatures.

The onlooker who filmed the incident noted that the owners seemed unaware of the dangers posed to their pets by weather conditions.

“Where they had parked there is just no shade,” they told The Sun. “It’s directly on the seafront in 25°C (77°F) weather outside – I’ve got no idea what it was inside the car.”

The family was indignant over what they claim was an overreaction by the police.

“At first it was ‘what the f*** are you doing, why did you break my car window? I was only gone for 10 minutes,’” another witness explained.

“The bloke obviously thought he was completely in the right,” they added. “He didn’t really seem to have much empathy.”

According to UK animal welfare group RSPCA, outside temperatures of 22°C (71°F) can reach a brutal 47°C (116.6°F) inside a car within an hour.

“Police officers attended and tried to get a contact number for the owners of the car but were unable,” a Sussex Police spokesperson said. “Officers had no choice but to smash the side window to gain access and a kind member of the public donated a bottle of water.”

Authorities added that the officers let the pet owners off with a stern warning, without ticketing the family or separating their dogs from them.

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Animals

Golden Retriever Filmed Giving Woodchuck Ride Across Massachusetts Lake

Elias Marat

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There are some occasions when the natural world resembles something we might think belongs to the realm of Disney films but no – it’s simply the animal kingdom in motion.

Such was the case when a dog owner captured amazing footage of her dog giving a ride to a small rodent across a lake in Massachusetts.

Lauren Russel was with her dog, Wally the golden retriever, at Hickory Hills Lake in Lunenburg last month when the dog encountered a woodchuck in the water.

So Wally did one any good dog of his breed would do – he gave his new friend a ride back to shore.

“He was about 100 meters out and a woodchuck, I think, just crawled right up on his back and he swam back to shore with him,” Russell told WCVB on Monday.

She always knew that her Wally was a friendly pooch, but she never imagined something like this.

“We were flabbergasted. It was unbelievable. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing,” Russell continued.

To top things off, once they arrived onshore, Wally and his fast friend gave each other what appeared to be a kiss.

“They like touched snouts and then he ran away,” Russell said.

You can watch the video of the touching event here:

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Animals

Tiny Creature Frozen for 24,000 Years is Brought Back to Life

Elias Marat

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A microscopic creature has come back to life and reproduced asexually after 24,000 years of lying dormant in the permafrost of Siberia.

Russian scientists found the tiny freshwater creature, called the bdelloid rotifer, in the rich soil of the Alazeya river of Russia’s far northern Siberan region of Yakutia.

The multicellular organism is common throughout the world and is known to be extremely resilient, capable of surviving extreme cold, dryness, starvation and low oxygen.

While previous research found that it could survive a decade when frozen at -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit), the new study published by the journal Current Biology offers a stunning testimony of the survivability of the tiny animal – which is by far the longest survival period known of any creature in the world.

“Our report is the hardest proof as of today that multicellular animals could withstand tens of thousands of years in cryptobiosis, the state of almost completely arrested metabolism,” said Stas Malavin, an author of the study, in a statement.

Malavin’s Soil Cryology Lab in Pushchino, Russia, used a drilling rig to extract the miniscule organism from roughly a dozen feet below the remote Arctic location.

Once the ancient organism thawed, it reproduced on its own through a process of parthenogenesis. Researchers then found that it could withstand repeatedly being frozen and thawed dozens of times due to its innate processes of cell and organ protection.

“The takeaway is that a multicellular organism can be frozen and stored as such for thousands of years and then return back to life – a dream of many fiction writers,” Malavin said.

“Of course, the more complex the organism, the trickier it is to preserve it alive frozen and, for mammals, it’s not currently possible,” the scientist added. “Yet, moving from a single-celled organism to an organism with a gut and brain, though microscopic, is a big step forward.”

Researchers hope that the knowledge gleaned from studying the microscopic organism will bring further insights on how to preserve animals’ cells, tissues and organs – including those belonging to human beings.

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