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Climate change drives thirsty koalas to special water stations

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 01:27

Koalas find relief in drinking stations set up especially for them in rural Australia as climate change drives them to seek other water sources. Samantha Vadas reports.

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A simple solution that may save an Australian icon from dying of thirst. Normally Koalas get most of their water from gum leaves. But heatwaves in recent years - caused by climate change - have them seeking other sources. It's why farmer Robert Frend teamed up with the University of Sydney to build these drinkers. Cameras showed a surprising number of visits from the animals. "They have been living here since the 1970's without any water supplementation. There might have been the odd dam around about but to see them in this area where there just isn't any water was certainly a shock and an eye-opener," Robert Frend says. Researchers say the koalas used the drinkers for more than ten minutes at a time, even during winter last year. "Climate change is making an impact and that we are talking about an Australian icon and everybody around the world knows koalas and we don't want to lose koalas," Frend says. Koalas are listed as "vulnerable" in Australia. It's estimated there are as few as 43,000 left in the wild. Reports say the country just endured its hottest summer on record. Researchers plan to use data from that time to see if koalas looked for the drinkers and if it may help them survive in warmer years ahead.

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Climate change drives thirsty koalas to special water stations

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 01:27