11 Feb 2022.
On February 10, 2022, Australia designated the koala as an endangered species amid pressure on the marsupials’ eucalyptus tree habitats in eastern states of Australia.
- The species was classed as vulnerable 10 years also in Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.
- Now, there would be increased protection for the animal.
Why was Koalas designated as endangered species?
- Population of Koalas is declining dramatically across the country because of habitat loss, impact of prolonged drought, black summer bushfires, Urbanisation and cumulative impacts of disease.
- Furthermore, thousands of koalas are thought to have been killed in fires that swept Australia’s eastern and southern states in 2019 and 2020. Thus, this designation would provide more protection to the species.
- Proposal to list Koalas in Endangered category was given by WWF-Australia, Humane Society International and International Fund for Animal Welfare, in April 2020.
- This proposal was made after research found decline in population by 62 percent in New South Wales and 50 percent in Queensland since 2001.
What does Endangered status mean?
Endangered status to koala means, the species and their forest homes should be provided with greater protection in accordance with Australia’s national environment law. This would not only protect Koala but many other species living alongside them.
- The koala is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial, native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of Phascolarctidae family.
- Its closest living relatives are wombats, which are the members of Vombatidae family.
- This species is found in coastal areas of Australia’s eastern and southern regions, inhabiting New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.
- It is recognised by its stout, large head, tailless body, round & fluffy ears and large, spoon-shaped nose.
- It has a body length of 60–85 cm while and weighs 4–15 kg. Fur colour of Koala ranges from silver grey to chocolate brown.