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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Australia: One third of koala population lost

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Australia has lost about 30% of its koalas over the past three years due to drought, forest fires and logging, the Australian Koala Foundation said, calling on the government to do more to protect the natural environment of marsupials.

The independent nonprofit estimates that the koala population has shrunk to less than 58.000 this year (up from more than 80.000 in 2018) with the worst decline in the state of New South Wales, where their population has shrunk by 41%. .

"The reductions are quite dramatic," Deborah Tabart, the foundation's president, said today.

There has been no upward trend in their population anywhere in Australia.

Only one area in the study of the Foundation is estimated to have more than 5.000 koalas and other areas are estimated to have only five or ten koalas.

Tabart said the country needs a law to protect koalas.

"I just think action is needed now. I know it may just sound like an endless disaster story, but these numbers are accurate. "It could even be worse (the situation)," she told Reuters.

The decline of the koala population in New South Wales accelerated after the devastation of vast forest fires in late 2019 and early 2020, but some of these areas did not already have koalas.

"What worries us are areas like western New South Wales, where drought over the last decade has had these cumulative effects - rivers that have been completely dry for years, ruined Camaldoli eucalyptus trees, whose leaves feed entirely on koalas."

In June, the Australian Government called on citizens to submit proposals for a national recovery plan for New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory around Canberra, and whether the endangered species of koalas should be protected. to be upgraded from "vulnerable" to "endangered".

Proposals for this plan are expected on Friday.

In addition to the effects of drought and fires on the natural environment of koalas, the consequences of the manufacturers' deforestation are also catastrophic.

"I think everyone understands that we have to change. "But if these excavators continue to work, then I'm really scared for the koalas," says Tabart.

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