Devastating Smelter Run-Off Kills More Than 150 Koalas

Koala populations have been declining for years, but the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfire season really took its toll on the species.

The IUCN lists koalas as vulnerable, but the government of Australia has officially listed koalas as an endangered species.

Photo: Pexels/Janik Butz

After suffering from habitat loss and climate change among other things, conservationists are fighting hard to bring koala populations back from the brink.

Unfortunately, more than 150 koalas were recently killed by devastating smelter run-off from a U.S. company.

According to Yahoo! News, the Pittsburgh-based aluminum company, Alcoa, euthanized 152 koalas after finding them in bad health.

Photo: Pexels/Ethan Brooke

Yahoo! News reports that the koalas were killed after Alcoa performed a health assessment on koalas in the area.

“Alcoa concluded the high fluoride levels from its operations are safe for humans, but they could harm koalas. It acknowledged the potential impacts of fluorosis on wildlife around the site, a disease that causes malnutrition as well as skeletal and dental abnormalities,” Yahoo! News explains.

The koalas assessed by Alcoa were, indeed, found to be suffering from malnutrition and overpopulation among other things. To address the situation, the company intentionally killed 152 koalas and relocated over 100 more.

Photo: Pexels/Pascal Borener

According to Yahoo! News, Anthony Amis of Friends of the Earth has been studying koalas around Alocoa for years, and he says the situation highlights the “desperate situation” that koalas are facing and have been facing for years. He said, “To have 152 Animals euthanized at one site has got to be some sort of almost an Australian record for a company.”

Amis and other conservationists and animal rights activists note that Alcoa should’ve acted much sooner to address the koala population in the smelter zone. Many believe the government should also be held responsible for not enforcing stronger regulations.

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