Koalas could become extinct in Australian state by 2050 – inquiry

UNTV News   •   June 30, 2020   •   265

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)

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)

PH temporarily bans poultry products from Australia amid bird flu outbreak

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 19, 2020

The Philippine government has implemented a temporary ban on poultry products from Australia following the bird flu outbreak in the said country.

Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary William Dar issued Memorandum Order No. 40 series of 2020 on August 14 which was released to the media on Wednesday (August 19). The memorandum states the ban of importing poultry products including chicken meat and eggs from Australia.

On July 31, the Australian government reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H7N7 in Victoria, Australia.

Meanwhile, meat processors raised concerns over possible shortage of mechanically deboned chicken (MDM) due to the said temporary ban. According to the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Incorporated (PAMPI), MDM is a common ingredient for emulsified products like meatloaf, hotdog, siomai and others.

The DA recently implemented a temporary ban on poultry products from Brazil after a batch of frozen chicken wings from said country reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Due to this, PAMPI spokesperson Rex Agarrado said this could affect canned goods companies.

“The travel time in the Philippines to Brazil or Brazil to the Philippines is five to six weeks; eight weeks if you go to Cebu. You will realize that in a matter of time, 6 weeks from now, 7 weeks from now, you will see some brands not being available in the market anymore,” he said.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronnie Domingo, however, assured the supply of imported chicken in the country will not be affected by the import bans. Domingo also said there is a 150-day surplus of chicken in the country.

“Marami po tayong bansa na kinukuhanan ng manok. Labing apat na bansa po iyon. Hindi po natin sinarado po iyon at ikalawa, sobra po ang manok natin this year, (We get our chicken supply from numerous countries. There are 14 of them. We also have a surplus of supply this year)” he said. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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