Koalas could become extinct in Australian state by 2050 – inquiry

UNTV News   •   June 30, 2020   •   322

A year-long parliamentary inquiry announced on Tuesday (June 30) that koalas will become extinct in Australia’s most populous state by 2050 without significant intervention.

The report found that koala populations in New South Wales were on track to become extinct by 2050, prior to the 2019-2020 bushfire season, due to drought and habitat destruction.

However the recent bushfire season, which was one of the worst in Australian history, was particularly lethal to the state’s koala population and had only increased the rate of their extinction, according to the inquiry.

Whilst the committee was unable to determine the exact impact of the fires upon the koala population, it concluded that koala habitats in some parts of the state suffered a loss of up to 81%.

The report outlined 42 recommendations to the state government that could be taken to help revitalize the population. (Reuters)

(Production: Cordelia Hsu)

Brisbane, Australia under 3-day lockdown to prevent spread of COVID-19 strain

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 8, 2021

Australian authorities have implemented a 3-day lockdown in Brisbane to prevent the further spread of the new COVID-19 variant.

This was after a quarantine hotel worker tested positive for the UK COVID-19 variant. The 79 individuals in close contact with the quarantine hotel worker are currently isolated and under quarantine.

Residents are also advised to wear face masks when leaving the house.

Wedding and funeral ceremonies are still allowed but with limited attendees.

Around 2 million residents will have to stay home unless they have to leave due to essential business.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the lockdown will be done “to enable Queensland health authorities to get on top of the UK strain case in Brisbane.”

90 pilot whales die after mass whale stranding in Australia

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 22, 2020

At least 90 pilot whales are reportedly dead after around 270 whales washed up on a sandbar in the coast of Tasmania in Australia.

Marine rescue teams arrived on Monday (September 21) to save the whales, however, authorities estimated there will be more casualties due to difficulty in getting the whales back to the ocean.

“We’ve got animals spread over a large area and in really challenging locations. We’re going to take the animals with the best chance to start with and the ones that we are able to deal with,” according to Parks and Wildlife Services marine biologist Dr. Kris Carlyon.

Carlyon also reported that authorities began its large scale operation on Tuesday (September 22), however, he said it will still take days. Experts are still investigating the cause of the mass stranding but it might be due to food hunting. AAC (with reports from Nina Bascon)

Australia extends international travel ban to December 17

Marje Pelayo   •   September 8, 2020

The Australian government has extended the implementation of international border restrictions for at least three more months until December 17. 

This was the decision of the country’s Health Protection Principal Committee given the prevailing global health risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

Australia closed its borders in March to prevent the entry of COVID-19 in the country. 

In July, the Australian government allowed the return of around 4,000 of its citizens and permanent residents. 

To date, only those covered by travel exemptions are allowed to leave or enter the country. 

Travel exemptions can be processed online through the Australian Border Force but only qualified individuals will be granted.

These included those working in essential industries and businesses, those needing immediate medical treatment outside Australia, unavoidable personal circumstance, compassionate or humanitarian grounds or anything related to national security. 

Meanwhile, temporary visa holders need not acquire travel exemptions from authorities as they may leave anytime to be able to return to their home country.

They have to make sure, however, that their country of destination will accept them once they leave Australia.

For list of exempted individuals, travelers may check on the official webpage of the Australian Department of Home Affairs. MNP (with inputs from Danny Delleva)

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