Koala bears take refuge at higher altitudes to beat climate change

No glimmer of hope in a less than rosy climatic context. According to Australian public television ABC , for the first time, researchers have discovered a group of koalas at unprecedented altitudes. A news which could thus make think that this marsupial, whose species is threatened, would be able to adapt to climate change. According to the environment minister of New South Wales, where the koalas were spotted, the discovery is considered “significant”. And for good reason, never in the history of the country had the animal been observed at such a high altitude.

During this study, the animals seen or heard were located in the Byadbo Wilderness Area, an Australian National Park, a protected area that is between 400 and 1,450 meters above sea level. To count the number of koalas , its characteristic mating calls have been recorded. In all, the cries have been heard at 14 different sites since last December. “It shows that Kosciuszko National Park could be a new refuge for this iconic Australian species,” he said.

While Australia , like the rest of the world, is directly threatened by climate change, the cause of koalas is also very important in the country. Indeed, the national authorities want to double the population of the marsupial by 2050.

Karen Marsh, one of the researchers who took part in the survey, was very enthusiastic about these observations. At the same time, she says there are “a lot of parts [of the park] that are hard to get to, so there just hasn’t been a chance to check out how widespread they are in the park. “. Moreover, she confirmed that the presence of koalas at this altitude meant that they could be resistant to climate change. Especially since these animals are particularly sensitive to heat.

Now the scientists want to quantify their discovery and find out exactly how many koalas are present in the area. For this, the team in charge of the study from the State University of New South Wales will use drones equipped with thermal cameras. ” With a bit of luck during the next breeding season, we might even find more,” hopes the specialist.

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