It’s national Save the Koala Day raising awareness and funds to protect koalas in the wild.
Queensland’s koala population has declined dramatically in recent years, largely due to habitat destruction and disease.
Jayd Mahady reports.
Koala handlers at Lone Pine Sanctuary say loss of bushland is threatening the future of our koala.
Koala handler, Lone Pine Sanctuary: “Eighty per cent of koala habitat has been completely destroyed, so it is really important for any remaining habitat to be appropriately managed and for any damaged habitat to be restored.”
Save the Koala Day organisers say property development is at the heart of the problem.
Deborah Tabart OAM, Australian Koala Foundation: “Farming or road building or agriculture or forestry – but in South East Queensland in the last ten years, let me tell you, 25,000 koalas have died.”
In the 1930s there were as many as 10 million koalas in Australia, but due to recent threats to their habitat, there may be as few as 70,000 left in the wild.
The Australian Koala Foundation says protecting habitat and combating diseases such as chlamydia go hand in hand.
Deborah Tabart OAM, Australian Koala Foundation: “I think number one we’ve got to protect the habitats of Australian koalas so that they’re less stressed and hopefully the disease rates will either go down or stabilise.”
But a recent senate inquiry and the development of a chlamydia vaccine may provide hope.
Koala Handler, Lone Pine Sanctuary: “Hopefully as well there will be new laws brought in to protect koala habitat and with the development of this vaccine hopefully, with all those things combined, we will be able to have koalas for future generations to come.”
Jayd Mahady, QUT News.