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Thousands sign petition for koalas to be brought to New Zealand

Thousands sign petition for koalas to be brought to New Zealand

A petition addressed to Jacinda Ardern calling for koalas to be introduced to New Zealand has received more than 6,000 signatures.

Thousands sign petition for koalas to be brought to New Zealand

In response to Australia’s devastating bushfires, the petition asks for the marsupials to be relocated to New Zealand’s eucalyptus plantations.

“Koalas are functionally extinct in Australia, and could thrive in New Zealand, as many other Australasian species do,” reads the petition.

“They would not compromise our local eco-system, as koalas typically inhabit open eucalypt woodlands, and the leaves of these trees make up most of their diet.”

University of Auckland conservation biologist Dr James Russell has warned there could be negative consequences of bringing the species to New Zealand.

He told 1 News species “don’t always do what you expect them to do” outside of their native environment.

He cautioned that the koalas might not do well and could die out, or could spread and become pests.

A spokesperson for Jacinda Ardern responded to the petition, telling 1 News the focus remains on “getting the fires under control so [the koalas] can stay in their natural habitat”.

It’s estimated more than one billion animals have died in the deadly bushfires that are ravaging Australia.

Click here to find out how you can help the animals and people affected by the fires.

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