A famous Australian Icon with their cuddly appearance and tendency to snooze all day, the koala is internationally recognised and loved. But their numbers are under threat across Australia, they have been labelled “functionally extinct”.
Koalas are currently listed on the National Threatened Species List as VULNERABLE in Queensland, New South Wales and The Australian Capital Territory and are protected.
This status has not changed since 2012 however.
Koalas are found in Victoria and South Australia also, but the numbers in some areas are considered too large so they are not considered vulnerable or threatened and are therefore not covered by stricter protection laws. This means that Koalas do not have a cohesive species status across Australia!
The 2019/2020 bushfires that destroyed large percentages of their already small habitat areas also killed an estimated 61,000 koalas. As well as impacted thousands more with loss of food, smoke inhalation and burn injuries. Also due to loss of habitat from increased development and drought and many koalas coming into rescue due to injury or disease, the numbers of koalas across Australia have declined significantly and their status must be reviewed. No reliable survey has been carried out in recent years due to the widespread nature of koala populations across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, but there are estimates that less than 100,000 koalas are left in the wild, with some estimates sitting as low as 43,000. It is likely much less than this now. It is believed that Koalas will be EXTINCT in NSW by 2050 and very few left elsewhere.
This is devastating news for our beloved Aussie icon.
The Australian Government has committed $18 Million until June 2022 towards Koala conservation activities in QLD, NSW and ACT after they were identified as an urgent priority for intervention after the 2019/2020 bushfires.
We need to act to protect Koalas across Australia. Here is how you can help:
Support the Australian Koala Foundation in their push to have a National Koala Act protecting all Koalas Australia-wide and having the same status nationally.
Adopt a Koala through a registered charity
Lobby the Federal Government or local ministers to support the Act
Fundraise for or donate to Koala rescues
If you live in a Koala habitat plant suitable food trees, drive carefully, keep pets inside at night, provide safe access to water and trees and support Koala groups in the area. If you don’t live in Koala areas, your voice is important!
Our Koalas are a precious and important part of our Australian wildlife. They need our help now more than ever!
Below are some websites for further information about the status of Koalas and what is being done to help them.