The Australian Koala Foundation said about 30% of koalas in Australia have been lost over the past three years due to drought, developers cutting down trees, and bushfires. The foundation urges the government to take more actions so that creature's habitat will be protected.
Population of Koalas in Australia
The independent non-profit group made a rough calculation and discovered that the koala population has decreased to less than 58,000 this 2021. The population was over 80,000 in 2018 and the state of New South Wales has the worst drop, where the population have decreased by 41%.
On Tuesday, Australian Koala Foundation Chair Deborah Tabart said the decrease in population are quite dramatic.
Nowhere in Australia has noticed an upward trend. In the study, just one region was estimated to have over 5,000 koalas, and some areas were estimated to have a very few population - about five or 10. Tabart said koala protection law is needed in the country.
She told Reuters: "I just think action is now imperative. I know that it can just sound like this endless story of dearth and destruction, but these figures are right. They're probably worse."
What Could Have Prompted the Decline?
The decrease in New South Wales worsened after bushfires in late 2019 and early 2020 destroyed a large area of forest, but there was no koalas in some of those regions before the fire.
Tabart said what they are worried about is regions like western New South Wales where the drought has persisted over the last ten years, completely drying up river systems for years, river red gums, which are very essential to koalas, dead.
In June, the Australian government requested for public comment on a national recovery plan for Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory around the capital of Australia - Canberra - and whether the threatened species protection status of koala should be changed from "vulnerable" to "endangered". The day comments on the recovery plan will be due is Friday.
Apart from the impact of fires and drought, property developers and road builders that usually clears land have destroyed the iconic habitat of marsupials.
Tabart said: "I think everyone gets it, we've got to change. But if those bulldozers keep working, then I really fear for the koalas."
Features of Koala
The koala is a popular Australian animal. It is usually referred to as the koala "bear," this arboreal animal is a mammal that possesses a pouch for the development of its young. They are called marsupials.
Though these animals appear fuzzy, their hair is just like sheep's coarse wool. Two opposing thumbs can be found on their hands, and they have rough pads and claws on both their feet and hands to enable them hold branches.
They possess two toes, joined together, on their feet, which are used in combing fur.
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