7,400ha of Aus­tralian man­groves ‘died of thirst’

New Straits Times - - World -

loves and be­lieves in the Nat will surely be looked af­ter.”

Mo­ments later, he leaves his flower-filled grotto to be­gin the rit­ual. Stand­ing at the cen­tre of the crowd in one of the shrines, he be­gins to dance, clutch­ing Ko SYDNEY: Thou­sands of hectares of man­groves in Aus­tralia’s re­mote north “died of thirst” last year, sci­en­tists said yes­ter­day, in the largest cli­mate-re­lated in­ci­dent of its kind ever recorded.

Some 7,400 hectares, stretch­ing 1,000km across the semi-arid Gulf of Car­pen­taria, died, ac­cord­ing to re­searchers from Aus­tralia’s James Cook Univer­sity. The so-called die-back was con­firmed by aerial and satel­lite sur­veys, with sub­se­quent anal­y­sis of weather and cli­mate records lead­ing to the con­clu­sion that they died of thirst.

World-renowned man­grove Gyi Kyaw’s sym­bols: a statue of a chicken and a bowl that sym­bol­ises a gam­bling pot.

But for true be­liev­ers, the fes­ti­val is about more than just fun and de­bauch­ery — it is a chance to im­prove your for­tunes for the ecol­o­gist Norm Duke, from James Cook Univer­sity, said three fac­tors came to­gether to pro­duce the un­prece­dented event.

“From 2011 the coast­line had ex­pe­ri­enced be­low-av­er­age rain­falls, and the 2015/16 drought was par­tic­u­larly se­vere,” he said as the find­ings were pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Ma­rine and Fresh­wa­ter Re­search.

“Se­condly, the tem­per­a­tures in the area were at record lev­els and thirdly, some man­groves were left high and dry as the sea level dropped about 20cm dur­ing a par­tic­u­larly strong El Nino.” AFP fu­ture by mak­ing merit.

“This is our cul­ture and cus­tom,” said Tin Hlaing, 73, who has come to the fes­ti­val ev­ery year since she was six. “He (Ko Gyi Kyaw) al­ways takes care of us.” AFP

AFP PIC

Devo­tees watch­ing a medium in­vok­ing spir­its at a shrine in Shwe Ku Ni vil­lage dur­ing the Ko Gyi Kyaw Nat fes­ti­val, near Man­dalay.

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