What's Up Down Under

How is the wildlife of Australia faring?

Tasmanian Devil
Mike Lehmann (GNU Free Documentation License)

In today's links: kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian devils, and more.

  • A facial tumor disease threatening to kill out Tasmanian devils has now struck a fellow named Cedric, who was thought to be immune. Scientist for whom Cedric represented hope of saving the species are disappointed. Cedric, though, has some "really good devil keepers," and is receiving top-flight medical treatment, and is expected to be just fine -- as you can tell from the blissed-out expression on his face in the picture.
  • Greenhouse gases are making eucalyptus leaves less nutrient-rich, which a scientist says could force koalas out of trees and onto the ground to look for food, where they'd be in greater danger from predators.
  • Perhaps their fellow marsupials could help with the underlying problem. A pair of Australian biologists is recommending that the world's meat eaters develop a taste for kangaroo burgers, to curb the cow-burp-caused methane that's contributing to global warming. Just think what could happen if McDonald's got on board with the McRoo.
  • Accepting the science that sharks are not repeat attackers, authorities will not be hunting down a shark believed to have killed a man in Australia. The victim, an avid fisher, apparently shared this view. He had stated in the past that if he were to be killed by a shark, "so be it."
  • And now for something completely different: good news. Not too far away from Australia, the coral reefs in the Indian Ocean are recovering faster than expected from the 2004 tsunami.