5,000 Koalas Die in Australian Bushfires, and People Want Them Declared Endangered

About 5,000 koalas have died in the 240-day Australian Bushfires in New South Wales that wiped out an estimated total of 1 billion animals, and this number is enough for conservation groups to make the call to declare the species as officially endangered. Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash This loss plus climate change, drought, and habitat destruction have […]

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5000 koalas die in australian bushfires and people want them declared endangered - 5,000 Koalas Die in Australian Bushfires, and People Want Them Declared Endangered

About 5,000 koalas have died in the 240-day Australian Bushfires in New South Wales that wiped out an estimated total of 1 billion animals, and this number is enough for conservation groups to make the call to declare the species as officially endangered.

koala australian bushfire - 5,000 Koalas Die in Australian Bushfires, and People Want Them Declared EndangeredPhoto by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

This loss plus climate change, drought, and habitat destruction have effectively led to a drop in the koala population of about two-thirds in just less than 20 years. Dr. Stephen Philips, koala ecologist and the lead researcher on the study that revealed these numbers, told the Guardian: “We’ve taken a conservative approach. But we still think that we have lost two out of every three koalas in NSW. It’s a spectacular loss in terms of conservation criteria and meets endangered listing almost immediately.”

It doesn’t help either that female koalas reproduce slowly at a rate of one joey per year, and Dr. Philips says it’s possible that they won’t recover the numbers in time for the next bushfire season.

International Fund for Animal Welfare has already started petitioning the New South Wales Threatened Species Committee and the environment minister, Matt Kean, to get koalas “emergency uplisted” to endangered from vulnerable. We’ve yet to hear news about their decision on the matter.

(ALSO READ: This cartoon showing Steve Irwin welcoming bushfire animals is just heartbreaking)

What are your thoughts on this? Sound off in the comments below.

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The post 5,000 Koalas Die in Australian Bushfires, and People Want Them Declared Endangered appeared first on When In Manila.

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