Global Warming's Latest Cuddly Victim: Koalas

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Recently, polar bears have pretty much owned the position of anti-climate-change mascot and global warming victim — so much so that they’ve even forced the government to get its act together. But now they’ve got competition in the cute-n-cuddly department: Koalas are under species-wide threat from climate change and CO2 emissions.

Koalas already have the deck stacked against them: Housing keeps encroaching on their natural Australian forests, and their strict diet of eucalyptus leaves is low on nutrition and forces them to sleep most of the day to maintain a super-low metabolism. But CO2 emissions saps the few nutrients present from eucalyptus leaves and boosts their toxicity level. Unless carbon emissions are curbed, koalas could be poisoning themselves with the only food they eat.

Koalas are notoriously finicky eaters who only eat about 25 of the 600 known species of eucalyptus tree. Obviously, they’re not going to change for us — they’re too busy sleeping — so it’s up to us. Hopefully worldwide cultures can start making progress on lowering emissions, before another cuddly animal gets added to the global warming kill-list. What’s next, baby seals? I don’t think my fragile constitution could handle it.

— Ted Alvarez

Global warming puts koala bears under threat (Telegraph)