Climate change endangering Australia's most vulnerable native animals

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Canberra, March 25 : A new report by the WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature) has determined that Australia's most vulnerable native animals could die out as climate change take its toll on their already fragile existence.

The report, which was produced by WWF and a research team from Macquarie University, catalogues the risks that 11 species face from the impact of rising temperatures and rainfall decline.

According to the report, global warming could skew the sex ratios for marine turtles in favour of females, as the incubation temperature of eggs determines the sex.

Rising temperatures could also increase the spread of the cane toad - which produces toxins that are highly poisonous to quolls - and reduce the amount of cool mountain-top habitat available for tree kangaroos, the report said.

Also, habitats for other creatures, including frogs, hare wallabies and a species of rat kangaroo, are predicted to disappear or become climatically unsuitable, with temperature rises from 0.5 degrees.

According to Tammie Matson from the WWF, while Australian species had adapted to climate change in the past, many were now suffering from habitat loss and introduced predators.

"Climate change is just another fact in the mix that could spell extinction for a number of species," said Matson. "It will exacerbate all the existing threats. It will tip some species over the edge," she added.

Other native animals described as at risk from climate change in the WWF report include the Gouldian finch, the bilby and the black cockatoo.

ANI

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