After news broke about the mass coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, World Animal News was eager to get to the bottom of this massive environmental problem, to find out if one of the greatest wonders of the world is really going extinct after 25 million years.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem. It covers more than 300,000 square kilometers and consists of more than 3,000 reefs, 600 islands, and 300 coral cays.
World Animal News’ Katie Cleary, traveled to Australia to research and collect footage on the Great Barrier Reef, to further educate the public on it’s condition.
Footage obtained by World Animal News in Australia is evidence that the Great Barrier Reef is still alive. Although there has been coral bleaching along the northern section of the reef, there is still a large percentage of coral reef that is thriving. We must still be vigilant in the protection and preservation of the reef for future generations.
Coral bleaching occurs when algae that lives inside the coral are expelled due to several factors; warming water, cyclones, water acidification caused by climate change, and the Crown of Thorns starfish which preys on and destroys coral.
It is important that we act now to save the Great Barrier Reef before coral bleaching takes a turn for the worst. The Great Barrier Reef is home to thousands of marine life and large sections of it in the southern region have escaped from coral bleaching. The northern region of the reef has been hit the hardest north of Port Douglas, all the way up to the northern Torres Strait, between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
More than 2 million people visit the great barrier reef each year, it is Australia’s most important tourist destination. According to reports, Reef tourism generates an annual income of $5 billion dollars and employs nearly 70,000 people.
The reef is not 95% dead as reports have claimed, however protection of the reef is dire. It is not too late for the Australian Government, scientists and environmental protection organizations, to work together to imply stronger and better regulations to protect the Great Barrier Reef for future generations.