By Courtney Cavanough and Fatera Ahmed
Australia’s horrific bushfires have reportedly killed more than 5000 koalas. The fires have caused a great decline in koala numbers, as land clearing, urban development and dry land conditions continue contributing to koala deaths every day. NSW’s koala population has declined by between 30 and 67 per cent since 2001.
Managing director and principal research scientist at Biolink Ecological Consultants Dr Stephen Philips 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.” With these overwhelming statistics, Australians seek to declare koalas an endangered species.
The Australian Koala Foundation was created in 1986 to save and help our native animals. This year the foundation has chosen to focus solely on these animals, as the bushfires have increased koala deaths over the past six months. By choosing to adopt a koala, plant a tree, donate money or take part in volunteer work to spread the campaign, Australians have raised awareness on the koala issue and also shone light upon the environmental effects the bushfires have had on Australian flora and fauna.
The Koala Protection Act is necessary as part of the ‘Save the Koala’ campaign that ensures all koalas are able to feel safe in their natural habitats. Through the Act, the campaign brought to life the real time issues that sprang from the recent bushfire crisis, and highlighted the significance of Australian fauna.
Another recent idea to send our koalas to New Zealand shows how Australians are striving to protect native animals at any cost, and has brought to light the severity of losing these animals.
The Save the Koalas initiative is effective, as keeping Australia’s native animals safe from environmental harm seems to be their greatest concern. Koalas’ habitats have been burnt and damaged due to the Australian bushfires last summer. As they have grown up in these rural areas for most of their lives, it can be considered a sentimental loss for Australians as our wildlife further dwindles.
Featured image: Little guy at the koala park, by Taz/CC/flickr.com