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How do we prevent koalas from disappearing from the face of the earth?

It has been estimated that the number of koalas had nosedived to just 92,000 in 2021, from 185,000 in 2001

In a few years from now, people across the world might be pushed to an unfortunate situation where they may have to tell their children that there used to be this cute little marsupial that once roamed the woods down under. The symbol of Australian wildlife, the koala, is at risk of extinction.

Australian authorities have been forced to list the koalas as “endangered”, as bushfires, land-clearing, drought and disease have majorly reduced the animal’s numbers. Over the past two decades, the koala population has been dwindling, and it has come to a stage where extinction is not far away.

Assigning the “endangered” tag to koalas has come as imperative in terms of providing the marsupials a higher level of protection. The Aussie administration has set aside an amount of Aus$50 million, which translates to around US$36 million, solely for the protection and recovery of koala habitats across the nation.

Dwindling koala population, a serious issue

Though the government has been doing all it can, it has also come under attack from environment activists who allege that it had failed to protect the species.  They have been urging the government to enact fresh laws that are even more powerful. Activists have also urged the administration to announce landholder incentives that would help in the protection of the koalas’ forest homes.

A look at the statistics would throw up shocking numbers. It has been estimated that the number of koalas had nosedived to just 92,000 in 2021, from 185,000 in 2001. The devastating “Black Summer” bushfires of 2019-2020 have been pointed out as a major reason for the slump in koala population.

If the latest efforts also fail, the situation could turn grim and by year 2050 koalas could be extinct.

Call for effective laws in Australia

Nature activists complain that the national environment laws in Australia have proved to be ineffective, leading to the dwindling of koala numbers. They have called for a full stop in allowing natural habitats of the koalas to be bulldozed for mining and construction. They have urged the administration to prevent their homes from being razed down for mines, housing estates, agricultural projects and industrial logging.

It remains to be seen whether laws would be ushered in to prevent the disappearance of koalas from our midst.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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