Koalas will be extinct in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) by 2050 unless there is urgent action, an inquiry has found.

The once-thriving marsupial has been ravaged by habitat loss, disease and climatic events in recent years.

About 5,000 koalas are thought to have died in devastating recent bushfires, the report to state parliament said.

It urged lawmakers to ensure that remaining populations did not perish in rapidly diminishing habitats.

The inquiry, by a cross-party committee, found pre-bushfire estimates that koalas numbered 36,000 in NSW were now outdated.

In the past year, blazes which scorched more than five million hectares statewide had affected 24% of koala habitats, it said.

The logging and fracturing of other koala areas has also been detrimental to their survival, according to the year-long investigation.

The committee said climate change posed an ongoing threat by exacerbating bushfires and drought, and by reducing the quality of the animal’s eucalyptus leaf diet.

“At every turn we were handed evidence that showed our current laws are inadequate and facilitating the clearing of core koala habitat,” said chairwoman Cate Faehrmann.

“The strategies and policies currently in place to protect the koala aren’t working.”

The committee made 42 recommendations, including establishing new national parks in identified areas and reducing land clearing.

The state government welcomed the report but did not immediately confirm which recommendations it would adopt.

“Koalas are an iconic Australian animal recognised the world over and a national treasure which we will do everything we can to protect for future generations,” state Environment Minster Matt Kean.

Koalas are also found in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory but their numbers are on the decline nationally, according to conservation groups.

Last year, the Australian Koala Foundation estimated there were “no more than 80,000” left in Australia – though others say it is difficult to know for sure.

Their principal threats – habitat loss, diseases such as chlamydia, and the impacts of climate change – are a concern nationwide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

‘We know the pain’: Australia confronts police racism toward first inhabitants

SYDNEY — The encounter began like so many others between a white policeman and an Aboriginal teenager. At an inner-city housing estate in Sydney on Monday, a hostile conversation escalated to a verbal threat against the officer — “I’ll crack…

Nein, we didn’t sign! Germans say they are not TAKING OVER Ukraine’s railroads for 10 years (yet) after PM tags Deutsche Bahn

Ukrainian Railways and Deutsche Bahn signed a memorandum of understanding this week on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. But the otherwise routine event was given extra flair by Ukraine’s Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, who announced that…

Belarusian opposition leader Tikhanovskaya ‘safe’ in Lithuania, says Baltic country’s FM

“Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is safe. She is in Lithuania,” Linas Linkevicius tweeted on Tuesday. The Lithuanian foreign minister had posted a message several hours earlier saying that he had “tried to reach” Tikhanovskaya but that her whereabouts were unknown even to…

French PM offers compromise to end pension strike

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has offered a concession to unions in a bid to end nationwide strikes against proposed pension reforms. In a letter, Mr Philippe said he was willing to withdraw a proposal which would raise the age…