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Australia Lost One-Third Of Its Koalas In Last Three Years

by : Hannah Smith on : 21 Sep 2021 12:48
Australia Lost One-Third Of Its Koalas In Last Three YearsAlamy

Australia’s Koala population has seen a ‘dramatic’ fall in the last five years, with estimates suggesting their numbers have dropped by at least 30%.

The Australian Koala Foundation said a combination of factors including bushfires, drought and deforestation were responsible for the decline, with the total estimated number of koalas in the country falling to 58,000 this year compared with around 80,000 in 2018.

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Australia's koala population has dropped by 30% (Alamy)Alamy

Numbers have been falling in all areas of the country, Reuters reports, with some regions understood to have as few as 10 of the species remaining. New South Wales has seen the most dramatic decrease, as the population in the state has fallen by as much as 41% over the last three years.

‘The declines are quite dramatic’ said Australian Koala Foundation chair Deborah Tabart following the release of the population study today, September 21. In response to the shocking figures, she called for the Australian government to introduce a law to protect koala habitats from further manmade destruction.

Koalas could be upgraded from 'vulnerable' to 'endangered' (Alamy)Alamy
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Tabart said:

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 we’re concerned about is places like western New South Wales where the drought over the last ten years has just had this cumulative effect – river systems completely dry for years, river red gums, which are the lifeblood of koalas, dead.

I think everyone gets it, we’ve got to change. But if those bulldozers keep working, then I really fear for the koalas.

The Australian government is currently considering proposals for a ‘national recovery plan’ to protect koala populations in the states of New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Canberra Territory. The plan could potentially see Koalas threatened species status upgraded from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism.

Topics: Animals, Australia, Bushfires, Now

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Reuters
  1. Reuters

    Australia has lost one-third of its koalas in the past three years