Koalas face extinction in New South Wales by 2050, according to report

Koalas will be extinct in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) by 2050, unless urgent action is taken, an investigation concluded.

The once prosperous marsupial has been devastated by habitat loss, disease and weather events in recent years.

Some 5,000 koalas are thought to have died in recent devastating fires, the report reported to the state parliament.

He urged lawmakers to ensure that the remaining populations did not perish in habitats that were rapidly declining.

The survey, conducted by an inter-party committee, found pre-fire estimates that the koalas of 36,000 in NSW were out of date.

Last year, flames that burned more than five million hectares across the state affected 24% of koala habitats, the newspaper reported.

Logging and fracturing of other koala areas was also detrimental to their survival, according to the year’s investigation.

The committee said climate change posed a continuing threat, exacerbating fires and droughts and reducing the quality of the animal’s eucalyptus leaf diet.

Koalas face extinction in New South Wales by 2050, report finds ...
Source: BBC

“At all times, we have received evidence that demonstrates that our current laws are inadequate and facilitate the cleaning of koala habitat,” said President Cate Faehrmann.

“The strategies and policies currently in place to protect the koala are not working.”

The committee made 42 recommendations, including the establishment of new national parks in identified areas and the reduction of deforestation.

The state government welcomed the report, but did not immediately confirm which recommendations it would adopt.

“Koalas are an iconic Australian animal recognized around the world and a national treasure that we will do everything to protect for future generations,” said Environment Minister Matt Kean.

Koalas are also found in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, but their numbers are decreasing nationally, according to conservation groups.

Last year, the Australian Koala Foundation estimated that there were “no more than 80,000” in Australia – although others say it is difficult to be sure.

Its main threats – loss of habitat, diseases like chlamydia and the impacts of climate change – are a concern across the country.

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