According to an official report, koalas may be in trouble in New South Wales. It says that they may even be extinct in that Australian state by 2050.
A cross-party group of lawmakers in New South Wales is warning of the devastating effect of the bushfires and how much it has diminished the Koala population and their habitat.
“Given the scale of loss to koala populations across New South Wales as a result of the 2019-2020 bushfires and without urgent government intervention to protect habitat and address all other threats, the koala will become extinct in New South Wales before 2050,” the report says.
It is estimated that a minimum of 5,000 koalas died in the fires and the number might be much higher. The government’s official estimate of 36,000 koalas in the state is thought to be “outdated and unreliable.”
“There has been a substantial loss of both suitable koala habitat and koalas across New South Wales as a result of the 2019-2020 bushfires,” the report says. “An estimated 24 percent of koala habitat on public land has been severely impacted across the State, but in some parts there has been a devastating loss of up to 81 percent.”
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Fires are only one of the threats to marsupials in New South Wales. Since their habitat has been impacted severely, they may also be dealing with a lack of lodging. Climate change may also play a role according to the report. They say that it is compounding the severity and impacts of other threats that exist, including drought and bushfires.
The government in New South Wales is trying to “urgently prioritize” protecting the habitat of koalas in areas where there is planned urban growth. They are also looking for an appropriate method of surveying the number of koalas.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, koalas are “vulnerable.” Therefore, they are listed on their Red List of species.
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