SYDNEY – Australia’s iconic koala is headed for extinction unless there are changes in how populations are managed, a leading academic says.
Zoologist and author Stephen Jackson will detail the threats to the marsupial at a seminar tomorrow at the University of Newcastle, north of Sydney.
“Previously hunted to near extinction in the 1920s, the species continues to face ongoing threats to its survival today,” Dr Jackson said in a statement.
“The loss of habitat and urban development, the increase of disease, the potential harm of climate change and attacks from other animals all impact the survival of the koala.”
Dr Jackson has spent the past two decades working in the wildlife industry and wrote the book, The Koala: Origin of an Icon.
He said Port Stephens, north of Newcastle, was home to one of NSW’s most important koala populations.
But debate raged over how to manage the animals, he said.
“There is differing opinion on the actual population numbers and whether the species should be considered vulnerable, (and whether they face) extinction at the national level,” Dr Jackson said.