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Koalas face extinction in New South Wales by 2050, report finds

According to research, koalas will disappear in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) by 2050, unless there is urgent action.

The thriving marsupial has been devastated by habitat loss, disease and weather events in recent years.

About 5,000 koalas are believed to have died in the recent devastating fires, according to the report to the state parliament.

He urged legislators to ensure that the remaining populations do not perish in rapidly declining habitats.

The investigation, conducted by a multi-stakeholder committee, revealed that before the forest fires, 36,000 koalas in New South Wales were now obsolete.

Last year, flames that burned more than five million hectares across the state affected 24% of koala habitats, he said.

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Killing and fracturing other areas of koalas has also affected their survival, according to the year-long investigation.

The committee said climate change poses a constant threat by exacerbating forest fires and drought, and by reducing the quality of the animal’s eucalyptus leaf diet.

Koalas face extinction in New South Wales by 2050, report finds

Media caption Videos of koalas at risk during the 2019-2020 forest fires were widely shared
“At every step, we have been presented with evidence that our current laws are inadequate and make it easier to clean up the central habitat of the koala,” said President Cate Faehrmann.

“The strategies and policies currently in place to protect the koala are not working.”

The committee made 42 recommendations, including the creation of new national parks in the identified areas and the reduction of ground clearance.

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

“Koalas are an iconic Australian animal recognized around the world and a national treasure that we will do our best to protect future generations,” said Environment Minister Matt Kean.

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

Last year, the Australian Koala Foundation estimated that “there are only 80,000 people left” in Australia, although others say it is difficult to know for sure.

Its main threats (loss of habitat, diseases such as chlamydia and the impacts of climate change) are worrying across the country.

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