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Koalas at risk from climate change

2009-11-11 10:58 BJT

Special Report: UN climate change conference in Copenhagen |


Many animal species around the world are suffering from rapid population declines due to climate change, placing them in danger of extinction. In Australia, koalas are the ones causing the greatest concern among researchers.

A 2008 survey of the Koala Coast by the Queensland government shows that the population dropped 64 percent in the past decade, from more than 6,200 in 1999 to about 2,800 now.

Deborah Tabart, CEO of Australian Koala Foundation, said, "I just don't believe our governments want to protect koalas at a national level, at a federal government level, I think it scares them."

In 2006, the government's Threatened Species Committee said local population declines did not necessarily mean the koalas were disappearing throughout the entire country, and that they were "resilient" enough to live in small or fragmented habitats.

However, according to Peter Garrett, Australia's Environment Minister, the committee is going to examine the evidence once again at next year's session. Experts believe that protection is better than cure, especially for something as valuable to Australian culture and the Australian economy as the koala.