We share the world with an almost incalculable number of living beings. We live surrounded by wild, domestic animals, some of which are invisible to our eyes and others that we fear for their size and strength. We also ignore a large part of the beings with whom we coexist.
And, even so, year after year we lament the disappearance of numerous species that have been affected, in part, by the impact of the human footprint on their homes and on themselves.
In today's post we talk about two species of animals that are at risk of disappearing. It is curious the fact that each one belongs to an opposite corner of the world, and their situation is so similar.
WE DON'T WANT THE EUCALYPTUS LEAVES TO RUN OUT
The Koala, scientifically named Phascolarctos Cinereus is a mammalian animal endemic to Australia. Their areas of residence are located in the areas of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the area of South Australia.
The Koala is a herbivorous species, its diet is based on the ingestion of eucalyptus leaves. A curious fact about these Australian mammals is that they sleep an average of 14 hours a day. Their average life expectancy ranges between 10 and 13 years, but if they live in captivity, they can reach 20 years of life.
However, recent events have caused koalas to die off much earlier than normal, as well as shrinking the population on frightening scales. There is a conflict of theories about the real risk that Koalas face today. On the one hand, there are those who affirm that the Koalas will disappear in a few years if drastic measures are not taken immediately, and there are those who, even aware that the situation of this species is not optimal, assure that the Koalas are not found in such abysmal danger.
The truth is that the Koala has several open fronts; First of all, it must deal with the loss of its natural habitat: the eucalyptus forests, which are its home and its source of food. The disappearance of its environment is due, first of all, to the massive development of urbanization, the construction of roads and railways and deforestation. It's almost impossible to believe, but Australia is listed as one of the countries with the highest rate of deforestation in the world.
On the other hand, the serious fires that have befallen the country in recent years have made a dent, in addition to the lives of Australians, in the lives of koalas. Many have died in the flames, and others as a result of the incineration of their homes. Between 2019 and 2020 it is estimated that almost 6 million hectares of Australian forest burned. Unintentional fires can be a consequence of the environmental problem that we all face; more droughts, extreme temperatures, the increase of carbon dioxide in the environment…
In addition to these factors, we also found that Koalas also suffer from diseases. Specifically, they are affected by a bacterium that causes Chlamydia, which causes blindness, infertility, respiratory infections and can even lead to death.
It is clear that the current situation of Koalas is not ideal, however, they are not yet functionally extinct or in serious danger of being so. But it is necessary, in the same way, to stop the causes that make them vulnerable, if we want them to last over time.
At Hanukeii we are one hundred percent committed to the fight to preserve a prosperous future for koalas. In our latest collection we have launched, in addition to our usual product, sunglasses, a series of caps that make us especially excited. Following the aesthetics of baseball caps, we have designed several different models, and each one has a patch on the front, on the visor of the cap, which represents a non-domestic animal, and in the case of Koalas, in a situation of vulnerability.
THERE WILL BE NO ZEBRAS IF THERE IS NO WATER
Let's talk about the Grévy's zebras: In the Samburu language they are called loiborkoram and if at some point they have seemed light to you, you are completely wrong; they are huge. The average weight of these animals reaches 450 kilograms. The zebra is the wildest animal of the equine species. The belly and the base of the tail are white. The function of these stripes is thought to be for social recognition, temperature regulation, or to create an effect that confuses predators.
Grevy's Zebras organize themselves into small herds that are spread out in order to graze evenly. Their main food source is grass and sedges, but when there is a shortage, they also resort to bark, fruit, and roots.
They are equipped with peculiar ears that appear round when viewed from afar, and their black and white stripes are fine and elegant. Its belly and the base of the tail, however, do without stripes. They're on white colour. Although there are those who affirm that the stripes fulfill a function of social recognition and defense against possible predators, this theory is not one hundred percent proven. They are imposing, beautiful animals. Their bearing and presence are overwhelming even for humans.
And they are in grave danger. Currently only 2000 adult zebras remain in the wild. Its decline has become especially visible in the Horn of Africa; in Northern Kenya and Ethiopia. The causes of its progressive extinction? The environment, hunting, competition with overgrazing domestic cattle for food sources and, of course, pecking order; The main predators of zebras are the lion, the cheetah, the leopard and the hyena.
Since the end of 2008, severe droughts have hit the zebras' home areas, leaving the grass that the zebras feed on is withered and poor. Kenya's rivers have been completely dry for long periods of time. Zebras hardly have access to water.
Seeing the seriousness of the situation, the association Grevy's Zebra Trust has developed a project to feed them. They have arranged, when it has been a particularly dry season, bales of hay along the paths the zebras take to go to the watering holes for water. Hay is collected in more humid areas and disposed of where it is especially needed. 2017 saw the worst drought in a decade, and Grevy's Zebra Trust distributed some 3,500 bales of hay.
Although the action of this association is completely disinterested and altruistic, it has generated some controversy around the question of whether it is correct to feed wild animals. The answer, under normal circumstances, is clearly no. Is not correct; It can be argued that feeding a zebra reduces its level of savagery and increases, in part, its status as a “domestic animal”. Dependence on humans can lead to a limitation of their freedom.
"Reducing the freedom of animals in this way can be seen as a kind of hubris, the human arrogance that tries to control everything that happens in the world," says Clare Palmer, a philosopher and student of the ethics of animal interactions. humans and animals at Texas A&M University.
It is true that the situation is highly controversial, but in reality, these animals are in a really delicate position and need help.
At Hanukeii we haven't done work on the lines of our colleagues at Grevy's Zebra Trust yet, but we're working on it. To begin with, we have also designed a cap model focused exclusively on highlighting the figure of the zebras so that they always remain in a visible point. And when things are not out of sight, it is very difficult not to pay attention to them.
Zebras and koalas are just a couple of all species that are at extreme risk. The caps are just the beginning of a movement that we hope will never end. Will you join us?