Sunday, April 14, 2024

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Koalas Are Now An Endangered Species

The last three years have not been kind to Australia’s most iconic marsupial, koalas. In just the past three years, the koala population in Australia has declined by 30%. As a result, koalas have been classified as an endangered species.

While many will think of the Australian bushfires as the main cause, it is just one factor in the equation. Koalas have been the victims of drought and habitat destruction before these devastating flames killed or injured thousands.

And the worst part is that this was completely avoidable if governments listened to the science. Instead, the species may become extinct if nothing changes.

What Is Making Koalas An Endangered Species?

There are three main culprits that have severely damaged the koala population. They include droughts, habitat destruction, and disease.

Australia is no stranger to droughts. As a result, most of the wildlife is used to dealing with them, and koalas are no exception. However, the recent drought conditions are the worst in the last 400 years.

This is forcing koalas to go much further to find water, and sometimes even forcing them to leave their habitat to do so.

Habitat destruction is the next major hurdle facing them. And yes, let’s talk about the fires. For those unaware, in 2019 and into 2020, 12.6 million hectares of forest and bushland were burned away. And an estimated 1.25 billion animals were killed.

However, even before these habitats were being destroyed by humans. The fires only made that choice worse.

Perhaps not quite as well known is that koalas are actually fighting their own deadly disease. The good news is that the disease is treatable, but it’s already cut the population in half.

The problems koalas are facing are quite similar to humans.

Can the Populations Recover?

While koalas have been pushed to the brink, there is a good chance that they will be able to bounce back.

First, governments will need to intervene and ensure they get the resources they need to stabilize the populations. However, this shouldn’t be that difficult because koalas are a national icon for Australia. And not being able to protect them is a very bad optic.

I also stated that the disease aspect is being researched and is treatable. Again, with the necessary funds and resources, it can be undone.

The real issue is rebuilding their native habitats that were lost in the fires. This is becoming close to impossible with the current drought conditions, but it is possible. It will take time, but if action is taken, koalas can be saved.

However, it’s also worth considering what happens if nothing is done.

Just last year, South Wales said koalas would be extinct by 2050 without urgent action. And a year later, the proper steps have not been taken to avoid this outcome.

Time is running out, and Australia does not have a great track record when it comes to issues relating to climate change.

Only time will tell if the population can really be saved.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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