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Koalas Are Going Extinct In Australia

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Koalas Are Going Extinct In Australia

The Australian Koala Foundation has said that the population of wild koala has plunged by 30 per cent in the last three years.

The foundation, which has monitored numbers of the marsupials for the last decade, has revealed that there are between 32,000 and 58,000 koalas left, down from between 46,000 and 82,000 in 2018.

Scientists have warned that koalas could go extinct, as the number of koalas in Australia now is a fraction of the eight million koalas that lived there when Europeans settled in the country.

Koalas are indigenous to Australia. (Credit: Valeria Miller/Unsplash)
Koalas are indigenous to Australia. (Credit: Valeria Miller/Unsplash)
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Though the decrease in koalas has happened over the whole country, it is most noticeable in the state of Queensland, where there are just 6,500 left.

Flinders University Professor of Ecology Corey Bradshaw said: "When they go extinct is up for debate, but whether they will go extinct is not really up for debate anymore," suggesting the situation is very dire.

"Habitats have been cleared... fragmented by roads and developments. [There's] genetic problems and diseases... dogs and cars. Add bushfires, and there's not a lot of long term hope for that species in particular," he added.

They could become extinct by 2050. (Credit: Lukas Tennie/Unsplash)
They could become extinct by 2050. (Credit: Lukas Tennie/Unsplash)
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Koalas are listed as "vulnerable" by the Australian Government, under their Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The Australian Koala Foundation wants the koala to be listed as "critically endangered" as well as the introduction of separate legislation to protect the animal.

Chair of the foundation Deborah Tabart told news.com.au: "It's shocking that it's happened in just three years. We need a Koala Protection Act now."

The devastating bushfires has had a dire effect on koalas. (Credit: Matt Palmer/Unsplash)
The devastating bushfires has had a dire effect on koalas. (Credit: Matt Palmer/Unsplash)
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A report published in June last year has said that koalas will be extinct in the star of New South Wales by 2050, with around 5,000 koalas dying in last year's devastating bushfires.

The report also said ongoing climate change posed a serious threat to the koalas, saying "the strategies and policies currently in place to protect the koala aren't working."

Featured Image Credit: Ellicia/Unsplash

Topics: Animals

Michele Theil
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