Apr 22

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

The theme for Earth Day this year is, “It’s Our Turn To Lead”. Our friends at Earth Day Network are urging people to learn more about the topic of climate change which generally refers to man-made changes to the environment that have contributed to the steady rise in the earth’s temperature, rising sea levels, ice melting at the poles, and extreme weather events.

Not only does climate change affect the weather but it also impacts the well-being of several species around the world. We’re supporting Earth Day this year by showing five wild faces that have been affected by climate change.

As Arkive patron Sylvia Earle has said, “With knowing comes caring, and with caring comes hope”.  Let’s learn about the following five species and spread a little hope for their survival on Earth.

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus


This wonderful marsupial is one of the most iconic Australian animals. Rising carbon dioxide levels cause plants to grow faster which lowers protein levels. Nutritionally poor eucalyptus leaves might cause the koala to migrate exposing them to predation. They are also particularly vulnerable to bush fires and drought due to their lack of mobility and dependence on trees.

Dlinza pinwheel (Trachycystis clifdeni)


The Dlinza pinwheel  is one of the most visually striking snails with its translucent shell and beautiful whorls. This snail is known from only the Dlinza forest and due to its limited habitat is quite vulnerable to extreme weather conditions.

Golden toad (Incilius periglenes)


The magnificently colored macaroni yellow golden toad was last seen in 1989 and is unfortunately believed to be extinct. Climate change is one of the contributing factors that led to the decline of golden toad populations.

Quiver tree (Aloe dichotoma)


The quiver tree has been named the national tree of Namibia. This tree is an important nesting site for large numbers of sociable weavers. Changing climates are causing quiver trees to slowly shift their distribution toward higher latitudes and altitudes.

Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)


The magical leatherback turtle is the largest turtle in the world and lacks the typical bony plates on its carapace. Its shell is flexible and covered in a thin layer of leathery skin. Changing ocean currents due to climate change might affect the migrations of juvenile leatherbacks as well as cause them to lose some of their prey.

The Earth Day Network is capturing more than a billion “Acts of Green” as part of the annual Earth Day celebration. By clicking on the link below, you can log your time spent reading this blog as an “Act of Green” and take part in this historic event.

Log reading this blog as an “Act of Green” for Earth Day today!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

May 1

The koala has been listed as a threatened species in parts of Australia due to its shrinking population, according to officials.

Photo of koala sleeping

Koala sleeping

Koalas under threat

One of Australia’s most iconic marsupials, the koala is facing a range of threats, including habitat loss, urban expansion, dog attacks, vehicle collisions and disease. Its specialised diet of eucalyptus leaves confines it to quite specific habitats, while increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere may be reducing the nutrient content of the leaves it eats.

Climate change is also increasing the risk of drought and fires, with koalas being particularly vulnerable to bushfires as their slow movements and tree-dwelling lifestyle make it difficult for them to escape.

Photo of koala eating eucalyptus leaves

Koala eating eucalyptus leaves

Although the koala’s exact population size is unclear, in New South Wales and Queensland its numbers are believed to have fallen by as much as 40% since 1990.

Iconic species

Under the new listing, koalas in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory will be considered ‘vulnerable’ on Australia’s national list of threatened species. Extra funding will be given to develop new survey methods for koalas and find out more about koala habitat.

According to the Australian Environment Minister, Tony Burke, the decision to list the koala as vulnerable followed a “rigorous scientific assessment”.

Photo of koala joey feeding on eucalyptus leaves

Koala joey feeding on eucalyptus leaves

We’re talking about a species that is not only iconic in Australia, but is known worldwide, a species that has taken a massive hit over the last 20 years and we can’t wait any longer before we turn the corner when the scientists are telling us the evidence is in,” he said.

Koalas are an iconic Australian animal and they hold a special place in the community… People have made it very clear to me that they want to make sure the koala is protected for future generations.”

Varying populations

The listing does not cover the whole of Australia, with koala populations in some areas thought to be larger and stable or even increasing.

Photo of a koala


However, conservationists, including Deborah Tabart of the Australian Koala Foundation, have argued that the koala should be protected nationwide. Although the new listing may be a step in the right direction, the koala still faces many threats and the future of this Australian icon is far from secure.

Read more on this story at BBC News and the Australian Government media release.

Find out more about koala conservation at the Australian Koala Foundation.

View more photos and videos of the koala on ARKive.

Liz Shaw, ARKive Species Text Author


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