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Outlook for Great Barrier Reef rated ‘very poor’
The most immediate threats are the gradual increase of sea temperature and extremes such as marine heat waves.
Report explores key threats to ecosystem

The long-term outlook for the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem has been officially downgraded, from ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’, according to a new report.

Researchers from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) said this is a critical point in the reef’s history, and there is an urgent need for accelerated action to improve it.

Key report findings:
  • coral reefs have overall declined to a very poor condition, after extensive coral mortality due to back-to-back coral bleaching events, cyclones and an ongoing crown-of-thorns starfish outbreak
  • the risk of several threats has increased since 2014, including altered ocean currents, artificial light and grounding of small vessels
  • the overall condition of habitats is poor. There has been habitat loss, degradation and alteration in a number of areas, affecting populations of dependent species such as some reef fish, marine turtles and seabirds
  • factors that influence and interact with the reef are intensifying, and while some can be managed or controlled, others - such as climate change - require global efforts
  • inshore water quality is improving at a regional level but the change is too slow
  • given the size of the region, its health and condition is variable and many areas continue to support healthy corals and marine life. Some species are thought to be recovering - humpback whale populations are healthy and southern green turtles are thought to be on the increase.

Chief scientist Dr David Wachenfeld said the most immediate threats are the gradual increase of sea temperature and extremes such as marine heat waves.

“Global action on climate change is critical,” he added. “Mitigating threats like climate change and poor water quality, coupled with resilience-based management, are essential to boosting Reef health so it can recover from major disturbances.”

Australian and Queensland Governments are investing over $2 billion in the next decade as part of a comprehensive plan to protect the reef.

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Celebrity chefs urge public to get baking to support Cats Protection fundraiser

News Story 1
 In support of Cats Protection's Pawsome Afternoon Tea fundraiser, Masterchef winner Tim Anderson and Great British Bake Off star Kim-Joy have shared biscuit recipes to help keen bakers raise money for needy cats across April.

The celebrity chefs are both cat owners and have said that they hope this fundraiser will help to raise awareness of cats in need and the importance of adopting a cat, rather than buying one.

This is the fourth year Cats Protection has run its Pawsome Afternoon Tea campaign, which encourages people to hold tea parties, bake sales and fundraising events to help raise money for the charity.

To view the recipes and other fundraising resources please visit the Cats Protection website. 

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News Shorts
BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.