Today National Geographic News published a story explaining how Australia is at risk of losing all koalas. Click here for the full story.
I must admit that koala conservation isn't something I had heard a lot about. I completed a search on the Australian sites of WWF and Greenpeace and not much came up. IUCN lists koalas as Least Concern but the US Fish and Wildlife Service has declared them as a threatened species. Looking at Australian listings and it seems as though the Federal Government currently has them as not threatened. In the four states where they are found Queensland and Victoria state they are thriving, South Australia says they are rare about from on Kangaroo Island and New South Wales lists koalas as as vulnerable, but varying regionally from secure to locally extinct.
The Australian Koala Foundation, a non-profit, non-government organisation dedicated to the conservation and effective management of the wild koala and its habitat, states on their website that koalas definitely are threatened. From recent research it appears that about 43,000 to 80,000 koalas remain in the wild. Find out more from them at www.savethekoala.com
It is clear that research needs to be carried out to get a clear picture on koalas populations. The threats to the population are many including habitat loss for housing, road accidents, dog attacks, bush fires and chlamydia. None of these factors are on the decline so the need for this research is immediate. This is clearly recommended in the Senate Inquiry: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/ec_ctte/koalas/report/index.htm
If Australians aren't going to save the koala, the country might as well close down the AFL, take Weet-bix and Vegemite of the breakfast table and get rid of our thongs and BBQs!
A new documentary covering caring for koalas: