The koala is under serious threat, according to a new report by an Australian Parliamentary inquiry into the status of the iconic animal’s population.
Following a lengthy investigation, the official report released a few days ago paints a bleak picture, indicating that koala numbers are in free fall, with few exceptions. “Declines of 80 per cent in some areas and even localised extinctions in other areas have been documented.”
Like another famous Australian marsupial, the kangaroo, the koala carries its baby in a pouch for several months after birth. It spends most of its life in eucalyptus trees, feeding on leaves.
Multitude of Threats
Habitat degradation is seen as the primary cause of koala declines, as well as a multitude of other threats, including habitat loss, urban development, disease, motor vehicles, mining, logging, drought, bush fires and dog attacks.
National monitoring, habitat mapping and a call for the establishment of protected habitat areas were listed as part of the 19 recommendations made by the Senate’s Environment and Communications References Committee, to halt what it says is a nationwide decline in koala numbers.
Cheyne Flanagan, supervisor of the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, says: “koalas are in such a terrible state across the country, because where koalas want to live, is where people want to live.”
The Federal Government is expected to announce before the end of the year whether it will list the koala as a nationally threatened species.
Kelly holds advanced degrees in Sociology, Journalism and Interactive Multimedia, and a project shortlist includes work for various organisations — SkyNews, ABC, CNN, National Geographic and the United Nations.
Kelly’s first independent documentary film, Koala Hospital, presents an unusual wide-angle look at the surprising life of urban koalas, set at the world’s first koala hospital. Watch the clip below for a preview of Koala Hospital.