Wild koala populations are rapidly diminishing and the iconic Australian species needs urgent protection under national environment laws, the Australian Greens said today.
A senate inquiry initiated by the Greens has examined the mounting evidence and recommended that the koala be considered for listed as a vulnerable species in areas of significant population decline, with the Environment Minister Tony Burke due to make his decision by next Monday.
“We simply can't imagine an Australia without our unique and precious koalas, but that's exactly what experts are saying – we could see the extinction of koalas in the wild in our lifetime,” Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said.
“In the Koala Coast region of south east Queensland, my home state, koala numbers have been in freefall over the last fifteen years, with less than 2,000 remaining in the wild.
“Australia is going backwards in the fight to save our precious and diverse wildlife, and unfortunately the koala is just one of many species in decline and moving closer every day towards extinction.
“Tony Burke can't delay his decision any further – he should list the koala as vulnerable, and act now to strengthen national environment laws and abandon the disgraceful push by both the old parties to sell off responsibility for Australia's environment to the states.”