Koalas are endangered in two Australian states

Australia on Friday declared koalas endangered across much of its east coast

Koalas are endangered in two Australian states

Koalas Endangered in Two Australian States

Australia on Friday declared koalas endangered across much of its east coast after their habitats were hit by prolonged drought, wildfires and tree felling by developers.

Scientists and academics have warned that An icon of Australian fauna could be gone forever if the government doesn't intervene immediately to protect the animals and their habitat.

“The new listing highlights the challenges facing the species,” Environment Minister Susan Lei said in a statement. – “Together we can ensure a healthy future for koalas, and this decision will play a key role in this process.”

Ley said that koalas in the states of New South Wales and Queensland, as well as in the Australian Capital Territory will be reclassified as Endangered, instead of the former Vulnerable category.

Australia has lost about 30% of its koalas over the past three years, with the Australian Koala Foundation reporting last year estimated numbers at less than 58,000, down from over 80,000 in 2018, with the worst decline seen in New South Wales. where numbers fell by 41%.

A WWF study found that wildfires in late 2019 and early 2020 killed or damaged more than 60,000 koalas when the blaze burned over 17 million hectares (65,630 square miles), an area almost equal to half of Germany.

But even before the fires, koala habitats were forests in the eastern states and along the coastal strips.

Environmental organizations welcome this decision, although they believe that it should have been adopted much earlier.

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“We must never allow a situation where we risk losing a national icon,” said Hosei Sharrad, manager of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. – “If we can't protect the symbolic species endemic to Australia, what hope is there for lesser known but no less important species?”.

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