Australia’s Great Barrier Reef status lowered to critical and deteriorating

Progress toward safeguarding Australia’s Great Barrier Reef under a long-term sustainability plan through to 2050 has been slow, a conservation report said. (AFP)
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Updated 07 December 2020

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef status lowered to critical and deteriorating

  • Australia’s northeastern coast has lost more than half its coral in the past three decades

MELBOURNE: The health of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the world’s most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem, is in a critical state and deteriorating as climate change warms up the waters in which it lies, an international conservation group said.
The World Heritage-listed site off Australia’s northeastern coast has lost more than half its coral in the past three decades.
Coral-bleaching in 2016, 2017 and 2020 has further damaged it health and affected its animal, bird and marine population, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said in a report.
Such bleaching occurs when hotter water destroys the algae which the coral feeds on, causing it to turn white.
The union moved the reef’s status to critical and deteriorating on its watchlist.

Some activities which threaten it, like fishing and coastal development, can be tackled by the management authorities, the union said.
“Other pressures cannot be addressed at the site level, such as climate change, which is recognized as the greatest threat,” it said.
Progress toward safeguarding the reef under a long-term sustainability plan through to 2050 has been slow and it has not been possible to stop its deterioration, it said.
The turtle populations — including loggerhead, hawksbill and northern green — as well as the scalloped hammerhead shark, many seabird populations and possibly some dolphin species are declining.
Efforts to safeguard the reef are rising, however. HSBC and the Queensland government said in October they would buy “Reef Credits,” a tradable unit that quantifies and values the work undertaken to improve water quality flowing onto the reef.
Similar to the carbon offset market which incentivizes the reduction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the scheme pays landholders for improved water quality.


Lion cub Simba born in Singapore via artificial insemination

Updated 26 January 2021

Lion cub Simba born in Singapore via artificial insemination

  • It is rare for lions to be conceived through artificial insemination
  • Singapore’s new cub, named after the main character in Disney’s ‘The Lion King’

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Zoo has welcomed a lion cub named Simba to its animal kingdom following artificial insemination that officials said Tuesday was a first for the city-state.
It is rare for lions to be conceived through artificial insemination, with the procedure first carried out successfully in 2018 — resulting in two cubs in South Africa.
Lion populations in the wild have plummeted more than 40 percent over the past two decades, with about 23,000 to 39,000 mature animals left, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
It lists lions as vulnerable.
Singapore’s new cub, named after the main character in Disney’s “The Lion King,” was conceived with semen from an elderly African lion.
The father Mufasa, who also takes his name from the animated film, was in poor health and did not survive the procedure, the zoo said.
Simba, who was born in October, is being cared for by his mother Kayla and zookeepers, and is “healthy and inquisitive,” officials said.
A video showed Simba being fed from a bottle and playing with a ball.