Feb 12, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Koalas declared endangered in parts of Australia

Photo of a koala eating a flower petal

A baby koala at the Wild Life Sydney Zoo on Oct. 14. Photo: Mark Evans via Getty Images

Australia has designated koalas an endangered species in parts of the country in order to boost protections for the marsupials amid bushfires and other environmental threats, minister for the environment Sussan Ley announced Friday.

Why it matters: Australia's bushfires killed, wounded or displaced over 61,000 koalas in the 2019-20 season alone. Conservationist groups have criticized the Australian government for failing to address the risks to their habitat.

Details: The koala, which is unique to Australia, has been listed as "vulnerable" since 2012.

  • "The impact of prolonged drought, followed by the black summer bushfires, and the cumulative impacts of disease, urbanisation and habitat loss over the past twenty years" led to the status change, Ley said in a statement.
  • "The new listing highlights the challenges the species is facing and ensures that all assessments ... will be considered not only in terms of their local impacts, but with regard to the wider koala population."

Worth noting: The Australian government recently committed $50 million to koala conservation and protection, Ley noted.

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