How could you not love koalas? They are adorable nocturnal marsupials famous for spending most of their lives chilling out tucked into the forks or nooks in trees. Found in Southeastern and Eastern Australia, koalas are the national symbol of Australia’s unique wildlife snacking up to a kilo of eucalyptus leaves a day.
Sadly these cuddly animals may become “functionally extinct” says the Australian Koala Foundation. The AKF (Australian Koala Foundation) estimates that there are no more than 80,000 Koalas left in the Australian region. Yet, the Koala Protection Act could help combat the rapidly declining population.
Saving the Koala
For the uninitiated, the term functionally extinct usually implies that a species population has been reduced to the point that it no longer plays a significant role in the function of an ecosystem.
“The AKF thinks there are no more than 80,000 Koalas in Australia. This is approximately 1% of the 8 million Koalas that were shot for fur and sent to London between 1890 and 1927”, says Australian Koala Foundation.
Currently, the population of the fluffy marsupial does not have enough breeding adults left to support the next generation of the pouched mammals. What’s the cause? The Koala population has suffered because of the rising temperatures, due to climate change, widespread deforestation, and heatwaves leading to the fatal dehydration of koalas.
At the moment only 41 of the koala’s 128 know habitats in federal environments have any animals left. The biggest concern right now is that if a new disease or genetic pathogen were to be introduced into the to the koalas, it would decimate the surviving population.
Koala Protection Act
In their statement, the Australian Koala Foundation urgently expressed their need to push forward the Koala Protection Act in conjunction with many different environmental protection laws that center around protecting Australian forests; the homes of the koalas.
“It is time for it to stop and it is time for Australian forests to be protected. The new Australian Government could swiftly put the Koala Protection Act in place...It would be a great way to start by protecting Koala forests which cover 20% of our continent”, says the Australian Koala Foundation
This Koala Protection Act is based on the US’s Bald Eagle Act. The US’s Bald Eagle Act was successful in rescuing America’s national symbol from the threatened species list. The Koala has a special place in the hearts and minds of the Australian people, equally an important National symbol. Hopefully, the current efforts and methods put into place will help the koala population.