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Oops! Australia's Great Barrier Reef is NOT Really Dead But Dying

Oct 15, 2016 09:41 AM EDT

The Great Barrier Reef was declared dead on Friday after an obituary was posted on Outside Magazine. However, to clarify things, recent reports say that the reef is not dead but is sick and dying.

"The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old," the obituary said. This post invaded social media with more than 1.37 million shares as of press time. However, CNN notes that "there is a big difference between dead and dying."

Russel Brainard from the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program at NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Centers said in an interview that the obituary is a means to create a "sense of urgency" and call to action about the state of the word's largest living structure. The problem came when people, who are not aware of the Great Barrier Reef's current situation, took it literally.

Read: Great Barrier Reef Nears Its Death, Tourists Rush to Australia

Currently, Australia's Great Barrier Reef has been in a fast decline with rising water temperature damaging more than 1,400 miles of the area. Also, research early this year discovered that corals located in the northern and central parts of the reef were dead due to coral bleaching.

"After the bleaching event in May, 60 per cent of what we saw was bleached very white. Another 19-20 per cent was covered in sludgy brown algae. Even of what remained healthy, some looked a bit on edge," said Amanda McKenzie of the Australian Climate Council. "When we went back a few weeks ago to see if they had recovered or died, quite a large proportion had died."

WWF says that the quick disappearance of the Great Barrier Reef is mainly due to two things: human-caused cilmate change and overfishing. If the obituary will come true in the future, Think Progress says that more than 850 million people will be affected of the Great Barrier Reef's death.

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