Australia Officially Declares Koalas an Endangered Species

© Pixabay/CC0 / Seemingly dejected koala looks in the distance
Seemingly dejected koala looks in the distance - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.02.2022
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government announced in January that it would commit some $50 million toward long-term protection and recovery efforts for the country's koala population. However, conservationists have argued that the government should stop throwing money at the issue and instead develop an explicit recovery plan.
Australia has moved to list koalas as 'endangered,' boosting their level of protection from the previous designation of 'vulnerable,' according to a Friday memo issued by Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley.
The move covers koalas in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, and Queensland.
"We are taking unprecedented action to protect the koala, working with scientists, medical researchers, veterinarians, communities, states, local governments and Traditional Owners," Ley announced.
The environment minister attributed the animals endangerment to drought, bushfires, deforestation, urbanization, and disease, including a chlamydia epidemic running rampant among Australia's koalas.

"Together we can ensure a healthy future for the koala and this decision, along with the total $74 million we have committed to koalas since 2019 will play a key role in that process," Ley stated.

Of that $74 million earmarked for koala conservation, $47 million will go toward protecting and restoring koala habitat. Around $8.7 million will support koala health, genetic research, and medical support.
Another $12 million has been committed for the National Koala Monitoring Program, which is tasked with assessing and responding to changes in koala population size, among other factors.
Canberra's Friday decision came at the joint recommendation of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the World Wide Fund for Nature Australia, and Humane Society International.
The April 2020 nomination cited two scientific reports that revealed the koala populations in Queensland and NSW have, respectively, plummeted by at least 50% and up to 62%, since 2001.
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