MAR 08, 2017 9:04 AM PST

Climate Change Impacts Koala Bears


Australia is known for many things, but the iconic koala bears that live in the eucalyptus trees are one of the most popular Aussie symbols. Tourist flock to animal parks where they can hold and interact with koalas. Climate change might be impacting these furry little friends however. Koalas spend most of their days in trees, chewing the branches and leaves for nourishment. Eucalyptus leaves contain enough water that the bears seldom drink. Video surveillance is now showing that behavior is changing.

Koalas were observed drinking from water stations placed in their habitats in Gunnedah Australia. While normally the koalas sleep at night, and even a good portion of the day, the bears were seen leaving their treetops and drinking from water placed nearby, sometimes for as much as ten minutes. Australia is naturally dry and hot and it's believed that the koalas were getting all of their hydration from the tree leaves, but it seems now that rising temperatures and climate change has made the trees drier. The water seeking behavior from the bears is new and researchers believe it's tied to global warming.
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  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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