In response to today’s news that the conservation status of koalas in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory will change from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s nature campaign manager Basha Stasak said:
“Many people will be very upset to learn that the once ubiquitous koala is another step closer to extinction in Queensland, NSW and the ACT.
“We are so used to koalas being central to our image of Australia, but the truth is our furry friends are in serious strife.
“ACF welcomes Minister Sussan Ley’s decision to accept the recommendation of the threatened species scientific committee and change the koala’s status to ‘endangered’.
“Research by ACF recently revealed that the federal government has approved the clearing of more than 25,000 hectares – the equivalent of about 500,000 average house blocks – of koala habitat since the species was declared ‘vulnerable’ to extinction ten years ago.
“Australia’s national environment laws are so ineffective they have done little to stem the ongoing destruction of koala habitat in Queensland and NSW since the species was supposedly protected a decade ago.
“Just four months ago, Australia declared its support for ambitious global goals to protect nature yet today the koala, one of Australia’s most well-known and loved species, was declared endangered. This is embarrassing for Australia on the world stage.
“The extinction of koalas does not have to happen.
“We must stop allowing their homes to be bulldozed for mines, new housing estates, agricultural projects and industrial logging.”
Header pic by Arisha Zayan, 10, from the 2021 Wild At Art competition