Koala to be clas­si­fied as ‘vul­ner­a­ble,’ af­ter an­nounce­ment by Queens­land

The China Post - - BUSINESS -

Australia’s Queens­land state will list the koala as a “vul­ner­a­ble species” through­out the north­east­ern re­gion, say­ing ur­ban ex­pan­sion, car ac­ci­dents and dog at­tacks were threat­en­ing the much-loved furry an­i­mal.

“Every­body loves the koala and we must do ev­ery­thing in our power to pro­tect the koala now and into the fu­ture,” Queens­land Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk said Sun­day of the tree-dwelling mar­su­pial.

Koalas are al­ready listed as vul­ner­a­ble in southeast Queens­land, but the ex­tended pro­tec­tion to cover the whole state will see its gov­ern­ment step up its ef­forts to map pop­u­la­tions and con­serve habi­tats.

“We also know, from mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents (to) dog at­tacks, that this is hav­ing a huge im­pact on the koala pop­u­la­tions right across the state,” the pre­mier added.

“We have been determined to do ev­ery­thing we can.”

A 2011 study es­ti­mated there were more than 10 mil­lion koalas be­fore Bri­tish set­tlers ar­rived in 1788 but num­bers had de­clined to less than 45,000 in the wild, though it noted their ex­is­tence high in the tree­tops makes them dif­fi­cult to count.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment placed the most at-risk koalas in New South Wales, Queens­land and the Aus­tralian Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory on the na­tional list of threat­ened species, class­ing it as vul­ner­a­ble, in 2012.

A 2012 re­port also found the koala pop­u­la­tion in south­west Queens­land had dropped from 60,000 to 11,000 over the past two decades, with re­searchers blam­ing drought, heat waves and habi­tat clear­ing for the sharp decline.

AFP

This file pic­ture taken Jan. 15, 2011 shows a koala dis­placed by flood­wa­ters re­cov­er­ing in an emer­gency shel­ter at the Lone Pine Koala Sanc­tu­ary in Bris­bane, Queens­land.

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