Australia loses 30% of it’s Koala’s in the past year

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Nathan Edward/National Geographic

Anwen, a female koala, waits in a Koala hospital in Port Macquarie Australia after she suffered burns from the bush fires there.

After the destructive 2020-2021 wildfires in Australia, the Koala, a marsupial native to the region, has emerged as an endangered species. The situation is not looking good for our furry friends as they are predicted to face extinction by 2050.

In 2018 there were an estimated 80,000 Koala’s in Australia; now that number has faced the biggest slide in history, dropping to 58,000 as of today. In some areas, groups of koala’s number as few as 5-10. However, these numbers are also rough estimates and the situation could be much worse.

These groups are far too small to rebound and will eventually die unless they are successfully paired with another group of koalas.

The main contributors to this terrible situation for Koalas were bushfires, deforestation, and drought. Many Koalas have been rescued but are covered in ash and burns from the bushfires.

Koalas are found in the forest of Eastern Australia, and while some live on reserves, others live on spaces that are being cleared and are losing their habitat. Because of their diet of primarily eucalyptus leaves, koala’s are very vulnerable to deforestation. Also, Koala’s sleep for up to 22 hours a day, making relocation difficult.

There are not enough volunteers to help all the koala’s but conservation organizations are doing whatever they can to save the species.

Their situation seems helpless, but Australia has previously banded together as a nation to preserve another endangered marsupial, the bandicoot, which is climbing back to greater numbers. The bandicoot population has reproduced successfully and there are now 130 bandicoots and counting.

To help this cause, the representative of the Australian Koala Foundation, Chair Deborah Tabart, is pushing for a Koala protection law. “I think everyone gets it, we’ve got to change. But if those bulldozers keep working, then I really fear for the koalas,” Tabart said.

Such a law would preserve Koala’s habitats from deforestation, and would devote greater resources to providing Koala’s with medical care, water and other necessities for their survival.

Either way the nation will need to act quickly to save the koalas who are getting closer to being functionally extinct.

The world loses multiple species per year. Last year the world lost the European hamster, the golden bamboo lemur, and the splendid poison frog just to name a few. And this year, the world is also on the verge of losing the northern white rhino, and the tapanuli orangutan.

If this trend continues ecosystems will collapse creating greater consequences than just the loss of a single species. Therefore, conservationists, governments and regular people should step up to preserve our planet and its wonderful species.