Endangered Australian icon officially a threatened species


The koala is now officially classified as a threatened species in all three east coast states.

With numbers rapidly declining in Queensland, it’s hoped the marsupial will benefit from the new environmental protection measures but activists say it isn’t enough.

Casey Fung reports.

TRANSCRIPT

It’s alarming that Australia’s national icon is in serious threat of dissappearing.

So much so that the koala, has now been added to the threatened species list.

The placid marsupial will be listed as vulnerable, one level under endangered, a label conservationists say won’t protect it.

Deborah Tabart, Australian Koala Foundation CEO: “The Koala coast population is critically endangered and on its way out. So this vulnerable listing may or may not do anything for that.”

The clearing of Koala habitats for urban growth is the main cause of the species decline, but with proper planning like in Northern New South Wales endangered species can be protected.

Deborah Tabart, Australian Koala Foundation CEO: “There are 500 houses nestled among 26 endangered species so I know it can be done. I’m just embarressed that our own development industry are so lacking in vision.”

Due to development and habitat destruction Koala numbers are in dangerous decline with almost half of Queensland’s population disappearing in the past two-decades and if we’re not careful enclosures like this may be the only way future generations will be able to see our national icon.

There’s no doubt they’re a big attraction for tourists.

Vox 1: “I was surprised to find out they were so endangered in their habitat.”

Vox 2: “It is sad to only be able to see them in here not out in the wild in their habitat.”

Hopefully the new classification will turn the tide on the decline of this quintessentially Australian symbol.

Casey Fung, QUT News