Monday, April 7, 2008

Endangered animals - Koalas

Koalas are lovable, tree-dwelling animals that are like kangaroos national symbol of Australia. Koalas are small bear-like animals, averaging about 9kg (20lb) in weight, they have thick ash grey fur and found in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. But like many other animals too, koalas are also threatened by climate change as the new study carried out by Australian scientists clearly pointed out.

Koalas' main food are eucalyptus leaves and if current climate change continues, these leaves will become inedible which could make koalas life very difficult since there wouldn't be enough food for them to survive. Koalas also receive more than 90 % of its hydration from eucalyptus leaves, since it drinks only when ill or when there's not enough moisture in leaves and eucalyptus really plays key role in their survival.

Global warming and climate change are mainly the result of excessive carbon-dioxide emissions and carbon dioxide has negative impact on eucalyptus since it reduces nitrogen and various other nutrients in eucalyptus leaves. And the shortage of this nutritions means that there is significantly less proteins in these leaves forcing koalas (as well as some other animals) to eat more nutritionally-poor eucalyptus leaves to survive.

Entire food chain of which koalas' survival depends could soon be put in jeopardy since koalas will have to eat ever-increasing quantities of eucalyptus leaves which will lead to food shortage. And there is also battle against competition since koalas aren't only animals that depend on eucalyptus. There are also some other animals like greater gliders, a large gliding possum, many different insect species, all desperately dependent on eucalyptus leaves for their food.

Will there be enough eucalyptus for koalas?

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