I have just read the most terrible news. Koala populations and their habitat have decreased to such an extent that they are now “functionally extinct”.
Forbes.com reports that Chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation estimates that over 1,000 koalas have been killed from the fires. 80% of their habitat has been destroyed, thanksk to bush fires, prolonged drought and deforestation.
Functionally extinct occurs where a population has become so limited that their population is no longer viable. The small number of the surviving animals means that they are unlikely to survive long term.
Koalas eat up to 2 pounds of eucalyptus leaves a day. And bushfires and deforestation has destroyed this main food source. The recovery of such plants after fires will take months – so there will be no food for the koalas.
So far, they have raised $1.35 million from 35,000 donors.
One of the things they want to do is to install drinking stations for koalas in areas devastated by the fires. And they want to have a Koala Ark so that burned koalas can live in a healthy habitat as they recover.
The hospital are searching for koalas, along with the National Parks and Wildlife Service crew leaders. So far 31 koalas have been brought to the hospital from various fire locations.
Koalas arriving at the hospital are rehydrated and examined for burns. Burns are treated with cream, and then bandaged. Dressings are changed every three days.
The hospital wanted to raise money to buy and distribute automatic drinking stations in the burnt areas to help koalas and wildlife. Now, more will be built, and shared with other wildlife organisations in areas affected by fire. Two will go to the Northern Rivers fire area next week.
The hospital is buying a water carrying vehicle with fire fighting capabilities to replenish the drinking stations with water as they need it.
Thanks to the incredible amount of money raised, the hospital is going to establish a wild koala breeding programme.
The bushfires in and around the Port Macquarie area killed about 350 koalas. 75% of the fireground footprint was prime koala habitat.
As well as donating to help the koalas, we can all do what we can do consider how our life style is impacting on the planet. The human race has caused enough destruction of our natural world. It’s time to do the right thing and put this right.
PLEASE DONATE NOW
Wildlife Conservation News
Peter Fearnhead, CEO, African Parks Network, South Africa
Water flow lessens animal-human conflict in Liwonde National Park, Malawi
We all need water, humans and animals.
So what happens when there is competition between humans and animals for water?
Liwonde National Park in Malawi is home to over 10,000 different species. Black rhinos, elephants, zebras and baboons are among them – the place is a biodiversity hotspot.
The Shire River passes through the area, and is a vital life source for all the animals there.
Years of poaching, illegal fishing and snaring have devastated the park’s ecosystem. Competition for resources has rocketed; as well as the animals, people need water to survive.
The people of Chikolongo had to go miles to retrieve water from the Shire River – it was the only major source of water available. In their trek, the journey often led to death for people and animals – especially as a result of human encounters with crocodiles, elephants and hippos.
The IFAW (that’s the International Fund for Animal Welfare) heard about the crisis in Chikolongo and knew they had to help.
So in 2013, they created the Chikolongo Livelihood Project – designed to build sustainable solutions to reduce the conflict between villages and wildlife.
They completed a water pump and pipeline to bring easily accessible and clean water directly into the heart of the Chikolongo community.
Since that pipeline was created, there have been no incidents of human-wildlife conflict. The villages have what they need to co-exist amongst the animals they had thought were dangerous. They are happier.
Plus, IFAW established a community fish farm and developed an incentive system to encourage the growth of commercial crops which was designed to help reduce poaching.
And the animals of Liwonde National Park are successfully recovering.
There are some really good programmes on TV about nature and wildlife - we are very blessed with them. Their quality is incredible.
Here's another - the series is called Equator from the Air. Gordon Buchanan takes an amazing journey round the Equator with experts who are racing to save wildlife and people.
Tonight (9th June 2019, 8pm UK time on BBC2), he croses the Pacific and drops in on the Galapagos Island.
There he discovers huge evidence of human intervention - domesticated pigs have gone wild and decimated the tortoise population. Drones are helping to track these species in danger.
He also joins in to see how a tropical lake may hold clues about how to secure the world's coral reefs.
Do watch - the series has been really good so far and is really sending a message home.
Today – Wednesday 5th June 2019 – is World Environment Day.
#BEATAIRPOLLUTION is the theme.
There are events taking place all over the world.
The UN says understanding the different types of pollution and how it affects our health and environment will understand how we can move forward and take steps to improve the air quality around us.
The thing is, I don’t think politicians care enough about all this. They – like too many in the business sector – are too busy thinking short term, about securing their next vote, or their next profit, or capturing the next market. If they are caring now, it’s because we, many of the public, are kicking off and saying enough is enough.
It’s time we all said, enough is enough. We need to re-evaluate how we use energy, what we can do to lessen our use of it, and how we can change our own lives to change the way we use the earth’s resources.
I’ve done mine and I’ve earmarked several ways I can cut down. Am I perfect? No. Do I fail sometimes? Yes. But I have to keep going and just put it right next time. It’s a bit like being on a diet. You always get things you could do better. Don’t berate yourself – just start afresh straight away.
We need to keep looking at this and keep making changes. It will mean better air quality for all of us and could mean more money in our pockets if we cut back on energy bills.
This World Environment Day,
Take the Mask Challenge
It may mean walking or cycling or using public transport instead of taking the car – which is possible for a good many of us. It could mean making a concentrated effort to drop the kids off further away from school so they have to walk and get exercise and fresher air along the way. We have legs to use, not to lie idle!
It may mean putting an extra jumper on and turning the heating down or off, and getting used to cooler air in our homes again.
It could mean having to put the walking out on an airer or line to dry and spending a few minutes bending and stretching to do this rather than chucking clothes into a tumble drier. How good for us is some bending and stretching! It’s very refreshing.
It could mean doing something for leisure which doesn’t involve so much of the use of the earth’s resources. Gardening – grow your own – sewing – make and mend – knitting, reading. Grow wildlife friendly hedges, not fences; plant wildlife friendly flowers and bushes, not decking or artificial grass.
We can all cut back on our intake of meat and dairy – there are lots of other alternatives now, and one of the biggest reasons for deforestation is the need for land to grow crops. Not for people, but for livestock. Reduce the need for meat and diary, then the need for livestock, then more of our forests will remain standing to be the lungs for our planet.
It means cutting back on the use of plastic – we managed without it before so we have we become such a throw away society? We must change. Make your own sandwiches rather than doing a take-away, take a flask filled with your own hot drink, use a resuable water bottle and watch your bills go down.
Anyway, the good thing is that there are a lot of good things happening in the world today and there are a lot of people who are taking action and doing things about our environment, even if our politicians aren’t doing anything or enough. Some are doing things – we all need to keep the pressure on to make sure they keep these up. We have the power to kick out those who think it doesn’t matter.
And we all need to think about pro-creating. We need to cut back on the numbers of people this world is producing and each of us need to reduce our demands on the planet.
As Mahatma Gandhi said back in the 1950s, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.” The planet only had about 3 billion people on it then. We're now up to 7.6 billion and rising.