Koalas are marsupial animals, which mean that their young ones are born prematurely, and then develop further in the mother's pouch. They are a native of Australia, and naturally inhabit in the eucalyptus trees. The eucalyptus-leaf is their primary source of food.
They are found in the states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. It is estimated that fewer than 100,000 of the endangered Koalas are left in the wild. They are not categorized as endangered animals, but have been listed as rare and vulnerable animals by the Australian Koala Foundation. However, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has categorized the endangered Koalas as threatened.
In 1992, the government of New South Wales has listed Koalas as rare and vulnerable creatures. In the state of Victoria, they are considered as safe, and are categorized as secure animals. But, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorized the Koalas as potentially vulnerable creatures.
Causes of endangerment of Koalas
The endangered Koalas are primarily threatened for their survival due to habitat loss. However, bush fires, diseases, dog attacks, and car accidents have also added to their problems.
Koalas have their home in eucalyptus trees. Colonization of Australia led to deforestation and clearing of lands for agriculture. Man has taken away the prime lands for housing developments, which has led to the cutting of eucalyptus trees. This brought about changes in the natural habitat of the endangered Koalas.
Today, about 80 percent of Koala habitat has already disappeared. In South eastern Queensland, there has been a sharp decline in the number of endangered Koalas. Their number has dropped by 60 percent in the last decade due to development works. Moreover, clearing of lands for farming has made the endangered Koalas to disappear from western and South Australia.
The endangered Koalas live in complex social communities. Their relocation is not found to be successful because their territorial and social habits are largely misunderstood.
The loss of habitat to the endangered Koalas has made them prone to other threats. They often enter the unprotected areas in human colonies, and are killed in road accidents. In addition to it, the endangered Koalas are facing threat of predation from the introduced species such as dogs and foxes. According to the Australian Koala Foundation, 4,000 Koalas are killed annually by dogs and cars.
Koalas are threatened by a dreadful disease called Chlamydia. It is incurable, and affects their fertility leading to their death. Moreover, Koalas are slow breeder, which usually produces one Joey a year.
The endangered Koalas are protected under the law. But, still more needs to be done to check the rate of their endangerment. Creating awareness among the people will help for the betterment of the endangered Koalas. At present, Koalas are thriving on the Kangaroo Islands in South Australia. With your determination and conscious efforts, you can make a meaningful difference to the lives of the endangered Koalas.