Koalas are now ‘functionally’ extinct

The Koala is, to all intents and purposes, already extinct. The Australian Koala Foundation has confirmed that with only 80,000 members of the species left in the wild there isn’t enough to support a new generation.

They’ve declared the marsupial ‘functionally extinct’ which means the population has dropped so low it no longer has any effect on its surrounding environment. Koalas have too few breeding adults left to support the species and any kind of genetic disease or pathogen would put the final nail in the coffin.

Koalas are dying out due to the effects caused by climate change. Rising temperatures are causing heatwaves that kill thousands of koalas through dehydration. The species has also suffered hugely from deforestation. According to the Australian Koala Foundation, there are no koalas left at all in 41 out of 128 Federal environments where they have known habitats.

Deborah Tabart, chairman of the Koala Foundation, has called for the Australian prime minister to step in and try to do something about it. ‘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,’ she said. ‘The plight of the Koala now falls on his shoulders.’

Koalas have always helped Australia’s ecosystem by keeping forests healthy through munching on tree leaves and fertilizing the ground with their droppings.

The creatures are listed as vulnerable in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. And though they are not listed as vulnerable in Victoria or South Australia, that’s because local populations are thought to have already gone extinct.

source: METRO