Koalas are among Australia’s best known and most popular. This species has long suffered from declining populations, mainly due to the loss of its natural habitat. Koalas have now been officially listed as endangered species. The question is whether this classification will actually lead to these adorable creatures being effectively protected.
Why is the koala population still shrinking?
The Threatened Species Scientific Committee recommended that the conservation status of koalas be upgraded to endangered in New South Wales (NSW), Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. The listing was announced by the federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley: “Today I am increasing the protection for koalas in NSW, the ACT and Queensland, listing them as endangered rather than their previous designation of vulnerable,” Ley said.
Many conservationists do not understand why it took so long for a koala to be officially listed as an endangered species. About 100 years ago, the biggest enemies were koal hunters, who hunted them for their furs. Currently, the enemy has changed his face. Koalas are battling climate change, habitat loss, cars, dog attacks, forest fires and chlamydia. Despite the efforts of conservationists, the number of koalas is constantly declining. In the last 20 years, their population has halved. Estimates for the future are not favorable. If action is not taken immediately, koalas may become extinct in New South Wales and other states by 2050.
“Koalas have gone from no-listing to vulnerable to endangered within a decade. That is a shockingly fast decline. Today’s decision is welcome, but it won’t stop koalas from sliding towards extinction unless it is accompanied by stronger laws and landholder incentives to protect their forest homes,” said WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Stuart Blanch in a statement.
The koalas are most threatened by the incompetent Australian government
The gradual decline of koalas can be observed for decades. Unfortunately, politicians are acting very slowly. Nine years ago, the necessary plan to restore the koala habitat was identified. So far, this plan has not been implemented. The New South Wales government was thrown into crisis last year when part of its ruling coalition refused to support legislation to protect koala habitat.
The government eventually set aside $ 50 million to support the koalas, but did not take any effective measures to protect the koalas. It is not just an environmental disaster, but also an economic disaster. Koalas are one of the most important attractions for tourists. When koalas become extinct in Australia, the number of tourists will fall sharply, and with that, tourism income will fall. Koalas are not the only endangered species, there are hundreds of other species in Australia that face the same fate, but they are not given enough attention.
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