Koalas Expected to be Listed as Endangered Species in Australia


The Australian Government is expected to decide on Monday whether to list the national icon koala as an endangered species, based on advice that the koala population has declined rapidly.

If listed as an endangered species, koalas, a marsupial native to Australia, will get federal government protection with imposed conditions on plans including mining projects, logging operations and housing developments in their habitat areas.

Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke is expected to list koalas in South East Queensland as “endangered”, and those in east New South Wales as “vulnerable”, according to local media reports.

But environmental groups are concerned that the government has excluded koalas from being protected in certain areas.

[Deborah Tabart, Australian Koala Foundation]:
“Minister Burke has already foreshadowed that he is not going to protect koalas across the whole landscape. Because I have been in my job for so long and I sat through the senate enquiries last year, I know industry is afraid of a listing and I know they have lobbied very hard. The logging industry, the development industry and forestry all pleaded with the senators last year, please do not list.”

Tabart said she felt the listing would be insufficient.

[Deborah Tabart, Australian Koala Foundation]:
“If Minister Burke comes out with strong protection for koalas then I will just retire. But, I really believe that it should be all or nothing and I don’t understand why he’s choosing which koalas to list and which ones he’s not going to. I think it’s going to be nonsense.”

There are fewer than 80,000 koalas left in the wild, living under the combined pressures of habitat destruction and climate change, according to the Australian Koala Foundation.

Koala numbers are declining due to climate change, development and from the disease chlamydia.



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