October 18, 2012

Great Barrier Reef at Risk


Maggie: You might want to plan that trip to the land down under soon to visit Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The twelve hundred mile long reef is the largest in the world and can even be seen from space.

But the Great Barrier Reef may be disappearing!

It’s one of the world’s natural wonders, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The system of three thousand different living coral reefs is home to some of the most exotic sea life on earth. But the Great Barrier Reef is in trouble.

Researchers say over the past 27 years, half of the reef has disappeared.

John Gunn: There is no exaggeration. This is absolutely unassailable data.

Maggie: According to the Institute of Marine Science, 48 percent of the damage is blamed on smashing waves from storms and cyclones, 42 percent from a type of starfish that feeds on coral and about 10 percent is from coral bleaching.

When the ocean is warmer than normal, coral starts losing the algae that gives it its distinctive colors, giving it a bleached look.

Some say climate change is to blame for causing more frequent storms and warmer waters.

John: If we do nothing, it’ll continue to decline.

Maggie: Researchers say the pace of coral loss has been increasing since 2006 and warn half of today’s coral could be gone in ten years.

They say the coral reef could recover if there is a human effort to protect it.

For now, they are trying to find ways to keep the destructive starfish away from the coral.


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