How do animals become extinct?
• They lose their habitat, which means that there's nowhere for them to live. For example, many animals make their homes in the rain forests that are being cut down. Once all the trees are gone, there will be nowhere for these animals to live, so they will die.
• Some animals, like chimpanzees, are becoming extinct because people kill them to eat them.
• Animals are taken from the wild and sent to circuses and zoos, leaving fewer animals in nature to carry on the species.
• Some people shoot animals for fun. This is called "big game hunting", and if enough animals are killed this way, some animals could become extinct.
• Elephants are taken from the wild and forced to drag heavy machines to help people cut down forests. This is called "logging".
Koalas are endangered.
Once there were millions of Koalas, but in the 1920s nearly eight million koalas were killed, mainly for their fur. Now the most common causes of koala deaths are dog attacks, motor vehicle accidents and disease.
There are now many programs to help protect the Koala and its habitat.
Koala Fast Facts:
• The Koala’s scientific name is “Phascolarctos cinereus” which means ‘ash-coloured pouched bear’.
• Some people refer to the Koala as a Koala Bear because it looks like a small bear, but is actually a marsupial mammal.
• Other marsupials include kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and possums. The Koala’s closest relative is the wombat.
• Koalas vary in size and colour depending on where they live in Australia.
• They have a life span of between 12 and 15 years.
• Koalas eat only leaves and bark from 12 eucalyptus trees.
• Eucalyptus leaves are extremely poisonous to most animals but the Koala’s digestive system detoxifies the poison.
• Koalas only drink water when they are ill or when there is not enough moisture in the Eucalyptus leaves.
• Koalas are mostly nocturnal and spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping or resting in trees.
• Each Koala has its own ‘home trees’, and do not usually visit each others trees.
• Female Koalas have a pouch to carry their babies.
• A baby Koala is called a Joey.
• Koalas only give birth to one baby at a time. The Joey is born hairless, blind and earless.
• The Joey will stay hidden in the pouch for about six months, feeding on milk. During this time the Joey grows ears, eyes and fur.
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