The Great Barrier Reef Isn't Dead...Yet
This week, Outside Magazine published an obituary of the Great Barrier Reef and it quickly went viral. "The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness," the obituary began. "It was 25 million years old." It turns out scientists aren’t very happy that the world’s largest coral reef system was proclaimed dead — mainly because it isn’t.
The Great Barrier Reef is definitely in a dire situation, but "we’re very far from an obituary,"Russell Brainard, chief of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program at NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, told The Huffington Post. And publishing an article that inaccurately claims the reef is dead can make people who don’t know any better lose hope and think nothing else can be done.
"The message should be that it isn’t too late for Australia to lift its game and better protect the GBR, not we should all give up because the GBR is supposedly dead," Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, told The Huffington Post.
The Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, stretches for 1,429 miles over an area of about 133,000 square miles. It is home to more than 400 kinds of coral, over 1,500 species of tropical fish, more than 200 types of birds, and around 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981.