They have lived in Australia for the last 25 million years, however the humble koala is facing the threat of extinction in some states.
Due to the combined impact of threats such as climate change, urbanisation and land clearing, Australia’s koala population in New South Wales and Queensland could soon be wiped out.
Environmental activism group WWF Australia, has estimated that nearly 180 koalas died as a result of bushland clearing in southeast Queensland alone between 2013 and 2015. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Dr Martin Taylor, who is the protected areas and conversation science manager at WWF Australia. “There’s the immediate effect of destruction of their habitat by bulldozers, but there’s also the legacy of that,” he said.
Koala population numbers are down 53 per cent on average in QLD and 26 per cent in NSW. The species is currently listed as vulnerable in both states, and the ACT.
The WWF has called on the governments to take action. “Government has to bite the bullet and put in strong protections, not just for koalas but for all our wildlife,” said Dr Taylor.