Loss of a third of population leaves koala endangered
Australia has listed koalas as an endangered species after thousands were killed in devastating wildfires two years ago. Land clearing, dog attacks and drought have also made the koala endangered.
The Australian government said the listing is for the states of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory and will provide the koala with greater protection.
The Australia Koala Foundation believes that almost a third of the marsupials have been lost since 2018. They estimate that the koala population has fallen from more than 80,000 to fewer than 58,000.
At least 6,400 are thought to have died in the bushfires of late 2019 and early 2020 with around 70 per cent of the koala population lost in New South Wales,
“Koalas are an international and national icon, but they were living on a knife-edge even before the black summer bushfires, with numbers in severe decline due to land-clearing, drought, disease, car strikes and dog attacks,” said Rebecca Keeble, Oceania regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
“It is a dark day for our nation,” she added. “If we can’t protect an iconic species endemic to Australia, what chance do lesser-known but no less important species have? This must be a wake-up call to Australia and the government to move much faster to protect critical habitat from development and land-clearing and seriously address the impacts of climate change.”
Conservation scientist Stuart Blanch of WWF Australia said: “Koalas have gone from no listing to vulnerable to endangered within a decade. That is a shockingly fast decline, Today’s decision is welcome, but it won’t stop koalas from sliding towards extinction unless it’s accompanied by stronger laws and landholder incentives to protect their forest homes.”
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“Koalas have gone from no listing to vulnerable to endangered within a decade. This is a shockingly fast decline.” Stuart Blanch, WWF Australia