Scientists from the Australian Foundation for the protection of koalas reported that in the wild there are less than 80 000 individuals. Because of this, among koalas is dominated by inbreeding, which leads to a decrease in genetic diversity and, as a consequence, functional extinction. This writes the IFL Sciences.
The concept of functional extinction means that, despite the presence of the living members of the species, population rapidly degenerates due to various reasons, including due to inbreeding.
A 2013 study showed that the phenomenon of functional extinction occurs more common than previously thought. Using mathematical modeling, researchers found that many species can functionally extinct if the population fell to just 30%.
According to Christine Adams-Hosking, research collaborators the University of Queensland, 80 000 individuals may seem impressive, but this is far below previous estimates. Moreover, the Australian Foundation for the protection of koalas suggests that this figure may be overestimated almost twice.
In addition to reducing genetic diversity, the survival of koalas are threatened by poachers, deforestation of eucalyptus forests and anthropogenic climate change.
As Focus wrote:
- The end of the century threatened the extinction of half of the mammals: they do not have time to adapt to rapid environmental changes caused by human activity.
- Over the last 40 years vertebrate animals was 60% less. The most affected inhabitants of the tropics.
- Australian reef mosaic, the rats became the first officially recognized victims of global warming. The Australian government confirmed that they destroyed the sea-level rise and extreme weather events provoked by climate change.