Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter

A male koala named Oobi-Ooobi at the Leipzig Zoo in Leipzig, central Germany, June 15, 2016. VOA

By Phil Mercer

Officials in Australia say a large housing development project could be blocked to protect endangered koala bears in one of the fastest-growing parts of Australia’s biggest city. The New South Wales government plans to create a sanctuary in Sydney to preserve the country’s last-remaining disease-free koalas. The animals are listed as vulnerable across New South Wales.

Koalas could be extinct in New South Wales within 30 years. That grim warning came from a parliamentary committee in June.

The state government said it is determined to save one of Australia’s most recognizable indigenous animals. It is creating a new reserve on Sydney’s suburban fringe to allow koalas to use protected woodland corridors to travel between habitats. One hundred thousand trees also will be planted.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.

“We are here to announce the Georges River Koala National Park,” said Matt Kean, environment minister for New South Wales. “We will be securing 1,885 hectares of koala habitat to ensure that the koala survives in this fortress population forever.”

Koalas could be extinct in New South Wales within 30 years. Unsplash

A plan to build hundreds of homes in the area could be vetoed by the state government after scientists found that koalas wouldn’t be properly protected.

Kean warned the construction company he may not approve the development plans.

“I will not be signing off on the bio-diversity certificate unless your development meets all the recommendations of the chief scientist,”

he said.

The developer has said that protecting native wildlife was a key consideration, but it has yet to formally respond to the state government.

Critics have said the koala sanctuary is not big enough. But Cate Faehrmann, a Greens parliamentarian, believes it is a good start.

Koalas face many threats, including chlamydia – a bacterium that can cause pneumonia and infertility. Unsplash

“It is a welcome first step,” Faehrmann said. “Thank you very much, New South Wales government, for recognizing that this koala colony out in Campbelltown — it is our only chlamydia-free population. It is so important. There is anywhere between 200 and 600 koalas out there that have to be protected. They have recognized this.”

Also Read: Researchers Discover First Known Case of Cancer in a Dinosaur

Koalas face many threats, including chlamydia – a bacterium that can cause pneumonia and infertility. Bushfires, habitat loss, attacks by dogs and road accidents are also significant threats. But in other parts of southern Australia, officials have said there are too many koalas, and that ‘overabundant’ populations have damaged valuable trees.

Also, south of Sydney, a group of koalas rescued from last summer’s devastating bushfires has been released back into the wild. Three of the animals are named after the crew of a U.S. water-bombing aircraft that crashed in Australia in January. (VOA)



When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades.

The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.

The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.

ALSO READ: Can You Drink Coffee While You're Pregnant?

"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.

"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.

Keep Reading Show less

It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.

The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.

Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.

"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.

ALSO READ: Emoji- A Choice for Interracial Couple

Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.

"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.

Keep Reading Show less
Wikimedia Commons

Jeff Bezos at the ENCORE awards.

Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.

Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.

ALSO READ: Jeff Bezos Used To Review Products On Amazon

After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin

Keep reading... Show less