On National Threatened Species Day, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW has warned Australian governments that they must act now to save our threatened koalas from the same fate as the extinct Tasmanian tiger.
Many koala populations are already under stress from encroaching human development and logging, and the situation will only become more dire as the impacts of climate change and human population growth take effect in coming years.
“The next few generations of koalas may very well be the last remaining in the wild,” Nature Conservation Council of NSW Chief Executive Officer Pepe Clarke said today.
“While estimates of total koala numbers vary greatly, what we do know is that the threats to the wellbeing of wild koalas and the destruction of their habitats are real and, in many places, increasing.
“Only last year, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature included the koala as one of 10 iconic species under threat from climate change and warned of the heavy toll on a species already struggling to cope with shrinking habitats.
“Despite the alarming prospects for our koalas, both the Federal and NSW governments have in recent years introduced weak policies with little genuine action on removing threats or building the species’ resilience.
“The NSW government has listed koalas as vulnerable but has shown itself unwilling to protect them when logging and development interests are involved. Earlier this year, logging went ahead in the home of the last remaining koala colony in the state’s South East despite the risk of their regional extinction.
“The Australian government is considering a proposal to protect the koala under federal legislation but fears remain that a ‘conservation dependent’ listing would give them inadequate protection and shift responsibility for threat management to the states.
“Business as usual from our Federal and NSW governments will not ensure the survival of our native koalas. The future of our much-loved koalas and many other native animals will remain in the balance unless and clearing, logging and other human impacts are brought under control,” he said.