Australia lists Koalas as endangered species; dramatic decline in numbers raises concerns

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Following a catastrophic drop in population, Australia has designated the koala as an endangered species throughout much of its east coast.

Land clearance, bushfires, drought, illness, and other hazards have decimated the once-thriving marsupial.

The listing, according to the federal government, is for Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

It has been asked to do more to preserve koalas from habitat loss and climate change.

Only in 2012 was the species designated as "threatened" in those states and territories. Governments have been accused of dithering despite the increasing deterioration.

"This listing adds priority when it comes to the conservation of the koala," Environment Minister Sussan Ley said on Friday.

"Koalas have gone from no-listing to vulnerable to endangered within a decade. That is a shockingly fast decline," said conservation scientist Stuart Blanch from WWF-Australia.

"Today's decision is welcome, but it won't stop koalas from sliding towards extinction unless it's accompanied by stronger laws and landholder incentives to protect their forest homes."

Climate change, according to scientists, would aggravate bushfires and drought, as well as diminish the quality of the animal's eucalyptus leaf diet.

Koalas may also be found in South Australia and Victoria, but their numbers are declining across the country, according to conservation organizations.

Publish : 2022-02-12 11:07:00

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