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Koala Bears Have Been Declared 'Functionally Extinct'

Koala Bears Have Been Declared 'Functionally Extinct'

According to the experts, there are maybe as few as 80,000 koala bears left in the wild. And this means they are unlikely to produce a new generation.

No. This can't be happening. We seriously hate what is happening to our environment and now it is our beloved animals who are facing the brunt of it. According to animal campaigners and the Australian Koala Foundation, koala bears have been officially declared “functionally extinct.” As reported by the New York Post. 

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So what does functionally extinct mean? This is the term used to describe an animal population which is either so small it has stopped to affect its environment. The animals don't have any breeding pairs left, or is still breeding but with a small number of individuals that it succumbs to genetic disease.

According to the experts, there are maybe as few as 80,000 of the animals left in the wild. And this means they are unlikely to produce a new generation. This is indeed heartbreaking in every sense of the word. 

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“I know the Australian public are concerned for the safety of koalas and are tired of seeing dead koalas on our roads,” AKF chairman Deborah Tabart said. “I am calling on the new prime minister after the May election to enact the Koala Protection Act (KPA) which has been written and ready to go since 2016.”

However, all hope is not lost. The Koala Protection Act is based on the US’s Bald Eagle Act and it was successful in rescuing America’s national symbol from the threatened species list.

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“The Bald Eagle Act was successful because there was a political motive to ensure their icon did not go extinct,” Tabart added. “It is time for the koala to be afforded the same respect.” 

According to the experts, the fluffy marsupials have been incredibly affected due to the rising temperatures and heat waves, that have inevitably led to widespread deforestation. This also resulted in the fatal dehydration in koalas, according to the foundation. Here's a statistic you are going to totally dread -- since 2010, only 41 of the koala’s 128 known habitats in federal environments have any of the animals left.

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Although researchers have claimed that it is difficult to track down koalas considering how they keep moving around, they still believe that the population of these tree-dwelling species is in steep decline. Since May 2012, places such as Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory have officially listed koalas as vulnerable. As reported by Daily Mail.

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And even during 2017, there was a report that hinted at the extinction of koala bears. According to RSPCA and WWF-Australia, the report stated that koalas have been facing extinction amid deforestation. The report noted that “the enormous extent of suffering and death caused makes tree-clearing the single greatest animal welfare crisis."

It added: “Yet it is largely unmonitored and unstudied, and neglected in wildlife policy and law.” The conservation group also claimed that the animals could disappear in Queensland and New South Wales within a few years.

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“The koala is a protected species, it’s listed as vulnerable. There’s no point protecting the species if we don’t protect its habitat. Your grandkids may never see them in the wild and that’s heartbreaking,” Clare Gover, a wildlife carer from southeast Queensland, was quoted as saying by The Sun in 2017.  

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