Research

Koals risk becoming “functionally extinct” animals - what does this mean?

Royal woodpeckers, black rhinos, seaCows - this is not the whole list of animals, exterminated through the fault of man. Unfortunately, due to deforestation and hunting, this list continues to grow, and after a few decades, even harmless koalas can get into it. Recently, representatives of the Australian Fund for the Protection of these animals announced that only 80,000 koalas remained in all of Australia. This is a critical value, because of which they can already be attributed to the "functionally extinct" animals.

The number of koalas in different parts of the world is significantlyshrinking is a fact. The reasons for the reduction of their population are really many, and the main ones are the cutting of eucalyptus forests, diseases and climate change. These animals are quite difficult to detect, so experts still can not name their exact number in different Australian states. If measures are not taken to protect them, their population may fall below a critical level and they will not be able to produce new offspring.

What does functionally extinct mean?

This term describes several dangeroussituations. Firstly, it means that due to a reduction in the population, the animal has already ceased to play a significant role in the ecosystem. Once this situation happened to the Australian Dingo dogs - in some regions they became so small that they no longer affect the environment even as predators. What kind of influence can we talk about with harmless koalas? Their number in this matter is very important.

Secondly, due to the reduction of its numericalkoalas may stop breeding. Some populations living near cities already suffer from inbreeding - crossing within closely related individuals. This will certainly lead to a decrease in genetic variability, which strongly threatens the viability of animals.

Third, the number of koalas is constantly decreasing.due to deforestation. It was also noted that in the areas of Queensland and New South Wales, koalas are particularly exposed to extreme climatic events, such as droughts - as a result, their population has shrunk by a scary 80%.

How many koalas are left in the world?

It is impossible to answer this question precisely becausethat these animals live in a wide variety of places, ranging from urban areas to neighborhoods of small villages. Nevertheless, in 2016, a group of 15 experts identified koala population trends in four Australian states. According to their calculations, their total number was 329,000 individuals, and over the last three generations, their population has decreased by 24%.

Despite the fact that the vulnerability of koalas has been identifiedas early as 2012, no particularly effective measures were taken to protect them. The main reason for their extinction so far is deforestation, and if they are not restored and not expanded, the frightening trend will continue.

Mankind has destroyed many species of animals, butscientists are trying to revive them. At the same time, there are people who strongly oppose this - the reasons for this attitude can be found in our material.

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