Australia has officially classified koalas in most of its eastern seaboard as “dangerous,” with marsupials suffering the effects of bushfires, land clearing, drought and disease.
Environment minister Sussan Ley has listed these koala populations as “at risk” to provide greater protection in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland. Conservationists say koala populations have collapsed across much of eastern Australia over the past two decades and this animal is on the brink of extinction in those regions. There were 80,000 left, an alarming number and still falling.
While they welcomed the minister’s announcement, they also condemned officials ‘ failure to protect the species so far. The koala, a global symbol of Australia’s unique ecosystem, was classified as “vulnerable” on the east coast more than a decade ago. “We are taking unprecedented steps to protect the koala“, Assured the minister, highlighting the government’s recent promise to dedicate 50 million Australian dollars (31 million euros) to the conservation and restoration of koala habitat.
“The collapse of shocking Rapture”
Golds are gone from status “From vulnerable danger within a decade. It’s a collapse of shocking Rapture“, Expressed regret to Stuart Blanche, WWF-Australia’s security expert. “Today’s decision is welcome, but is not going to stop koalas from sliding towards extinction unless landowners have strict laws and incentives to protect their forest habitat“, He added. The scientific committee for endangered species, an independent government agency, estimated that the koala population increased from 185,000 in 2001 to 92,000 in 2021.
“The WWF and conservation organizations had warned of the massive decline of this species and supported the transition to this state, Confirms WWF spokeswoman Deborah Van thornout. Now it should mark a turning point in the conservation of species (…) Switching to this position is a first point, but now it is essential that Australia governments implement stronger laws to curb deforestation and deforestation, and encourage landowners to protect koala habitat.”
East Coast koalas could become extinct by 2050 if nothing is done, says Alexia welbelov of Humane Society International. “No more solution“, He says. Australian Conservation Foundation research shows the federal government has approved the destruction of more than 25,000 hectares of koala habitat since the species was declared vulnerable.
“We could lose a national icon”
“Australia’s environmental laws are so ineffective that they have failed to prevent the continued destruction of koala habitat in Queensland and New South Wales for the past decade, species must be protected“, Denounced Pasha Stasak, an official of the foundation. “We must stop allowing mining, real estate or agricultural projects and industrial forestry operations to raze their habitats“, He added. Before the devastating fires of 2019-2020, koalas were already threatened by deforestation, drought, disease, collisions with cars and dog attacks, explained Josie Sharad, an official at the International Fund for animal protection. “We should never have allowed things to where we could lose a national icon“, She regretted.
According to her, “The bushfires were the final straw. This should be a wake-up call for Australia and the government to act very quickly to protect critical habitats from development and remediation and seriously address the effects of climate change“.