Koalas are officially threatened with extinction. Environmentalists are also concerned about lesser-known species

Though koalas are considered the unofficial symbol of Australia, their population has declined over the years. How to save an endemic species?

Thanks to its diverse flora and fauna, Australia is very popular with tourists. Australians expect that after two years of closure, more and more eager travelers will flock to the country in the coming weeks and months. However, the thawing of tourism coincided with unpleasant information from the animal world – one of the symbols of Australia is in danger of extinction.

The Great Barrier Reef and Kangaroos are one of the first associationsthat come to mind about Australia. Following the animal trail, it is impossible not to mention koalas† Unfortunately, for a long time their populations are continuously declining due to prolonged drought, fires and the felling of trees by developers.

Scientists have previously called on the government to intervene immediately to protect distinctive mammal habitats† Only now have Australian authorities announced that the koalas living on the country’s east coast are threatened by extinction. The changes concern states New South Wales and Queensland and Australian Capital Territory† So far the species has had status exposed

Koalas live in their natural habitat for about 20 years. / photo: Getty Images

– Together we can ensure a healthy future for koalas. This decision will play a key role in the process, Australian Environment Minister Susan Ley announced.

WWF research shows that more than 60 thousand people were affected by wildfires at the beginning of 2019 and 2020 koalas. In total, the flames consumed the area of ​​17 million hectares. In comparison, the area of ​​Poland is 31 million hectares.

Koala populations began to shrink before the fires. By developing cities and clearing land for agriculture, animals have lost some of their habitat in the eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia.

Environmentalists praised the government’s recognition of the magnitude of the problem. However, they emphasize that appropriate measures should be taken much earlier

We must never allow things to get to the point where we risk losing our national icon – says Josey Sharrad, manager of the International Animal Fund. – If we can’t protect Australia’s iconic native species, what chance do lesser known but no less important animals have? – he adds.

Other animal species are also declining at an alarming rate. / photo: Getty Images

Sharrad drew attention to a very important point. Because Koalas are considered one of the symbols of Australia, the risk of their extinction hit people around the world. However, they are not the only species facing harmful human activities and climate change.

In 2019, for example, almost 1/3 of the red-tailed bat population died out due to the heat wave. Interestingly, an analysis by law students found that global warming is not mentioned in most documents on the protection of endangered species. The so-called climate divide has appeared in descriptions of species known to suffer from extreme heat and drought.

Another threat to Australian animals is poaching and trade. Despite the ban on the export of live animals from Australia, every year thousands are smuggled to Japan and the US, among other places. According to the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, nearly all detected smuggling cases in 2018-2019 were reptiles.

Australia has eased entry restrictions since last November† At that time, travel programs were launched that allowed travel to New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Japan.

February 21st the country will welcome the first tourists from other countries. Visitors must meet two requirements: have a tourist visa and proof of complete vaccination against COVID-19.

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