Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Bear of a Problem

Executive summary by darmansjah

REPORTEDLY WORTH MORE than a billion in annual tourism dollar, the kola bear has slipped off balance in its native habitat along Australia’s east coast. The marsupial shows “clear evidence of broad decline” says peter Menkhorst, a koala ecologist in Victoria. Deforestation and drier, hotter weather hav contributed to shrinking counts in Queensland and New South Wales, recently moving the Australian government to classify the species ‘vulnerable’ in those urbanizing states. Meanwhile, west of Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road, cramped reserves teem with koalas; at Cape Otway, as many as a dozen curl up in a single tree. Photo ops are a given at Gold Coast’s Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, but Menkhorst advises observing the creatures in wild eucalyptus forests, such as in cooler southeastern Australia, where numbers are stable. Travelers can support reforestation efforts through the Australian Wildlife conservancy and Greening Austalia.

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