More than 1000 koalas die in Australian bushfires – Totally Vegan Buzz
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Image Credit: Karl Hofman / Shutterstock.com & Port Macquarie Koala hospital

Australian bushfires have destroyed koalas’ natural habitat rendering them ‘functionally extinct,’ claim experts.

According to experts’ estimation in May, koalas were already “functionally extinct”-a term used when a population is so numbered that they are considered a threatened species- and with deforestation, bushfires and prolonged droughts plaguing Australia, the fuzzy marsupial species may well be wiped off the earth by 2050.

Deborah Tabart, chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation believes the bushfires that continue to rage in NSW and Queensland have destroyed around 80 per cent of the koalas’ natural habitat and killed more than 1000 koalas.

Image Credit: Port macquarie koala hospital

The main issue for koalas is deforestation due to humans, and the AKF has called on the Australian government to act on the declining numbers or witness the species’ inevitable demise.

Tabart said in May: “I’m calling on the new Prime Minister after the May election to enact the Koala Protection Act, which has been written and ready to go since 2016. The plight of the koala now falls on his shoulders.”

“It’s a national tragedy,” Port Macquarie Koala Hospital clinical director Cheyne Flanagan told ABC News Australia.

Image Credit: Port macquarie koala hospital

Coupled with the fires that have scorched more than 2.5 million acres on the east coast, deforestation destroys countless eucalyptus trees- the main source of the koalas’ diet, forcing them to starvation.

An adult requires up to 2 pounds of eucalyptus leaves per day and while eucalyptus plants take a few months to grow back after a fire, koalas are left with no suitable alternative further dwindling their chances of survival.

Risks

Koalas are very vulnerable to bushfires, while their habitats are being rapidly destroyed by deforestation for farming and housing.

Image Credit:  Karl Hofman / Shutterstock.com

The Australian Koala Foundation said that numbers of koalas have fallen so dramatically that they will not be able to sustain the next generation or play a significant role in the ecosystem.

The critically low numbers means there’s a risk of inbreeding and genetic diseases.

The AKF monitors 128 districts which should be koala environments, and have been in the past, but 41 of the areas have no koalas left at all.

Deforestation

The main issue for koalas is deforestation due to humans, and the AKF has called on the Australian government to act on the declining numbers or witness the species’ inevitable demise.

Save the koalas

Several videos of locals rushing to help save the animals have gone viral in which people are seen risking their lives in order to give the animals a fighting chance.

Nearby residents have been urged to search areas surrounding their properties and bring in any injured animals to help slow a worrying decline in koala numbers. 

In one such video, Toni Doherty was seen heading straight into a bushfire in the New South Wales town of Long Flat to save an injured koala.

She was seen dousing water on the singed koala before wrapping him in her shirt and carrying him out to safety.

Speaking to Channel Nine’s Today, Doherty recalled: “It was vulnerable, all I could think to do was to try and rescue him.

“We just jumped out and I knew I needed to put something around him as I ran to the tree so I just took off my shirt and covered him with it and tried to get him out of the fire.” 

With the recent spate of fires, the Australian government has been urged to enact the Koala Protection Act, written in 2016 similar to the Bald Eagle Protection Act in the US.

Implementing the act will help safeguard koala habitats, eucalyptus trees and the endangered animals.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has also launched a  GoFundMe campaign to raise money to install automatic drinking stations for animals living in areas ruined by fires.

The hospital has raised over $1.146million from more than 25,500 donations.

What should the Australian government do to save koalas from extinction? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Published by Totally Vegan Buzz Team

The Totally Vegan Buzz Team are a gang of extremely entertaining writers who also happen to be vegan. Together, they bring you all the vegan infotainment you need - trends, news, quizzes and more. Leave them a comment! They love it when you guys say hi...

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