Koalas in New South Wales, Australia could be extinct before 2050 at the current rate, due to devastation of habitat caused by the brush fires that started in July 2019.
Officials say that the koalas located in New South Wales (NSW) are on track to be extinct in the next 30 years after huge brush fires swept through the area, starting last year and ending this March. This information comes from a report from the parliament of the southeastern state of Australia, noted by CBS News in a piece published Tuesday. (RELATED: Canine Partner Of Murdered Officer Will Retire, Live With His Widow And Son)
“Given the scale of loss to koala populations across New South Wales as a result of the 2019- 2020 bushfires and without urgent government intervention to protect habitat and address all other threats, the koala will become extinct in New South Wales before 2050,” the report explained. (RELATED: Alex Trebek Announces He Was Diagnosed With Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer)
Cate Faehrmann was chairman of the committee that conducted a year-long inquiry after brush fires that hit the area and caused “significant concern in the community about the future of Australia’s most loved animal, the koala.”
“Even before the devastating 2019-2020 bushfires it was clear that the koala in NSW, already a threatened species, was in significant trouble, with the committee finding that the official government estimate of 36,000 koalas contained in the NSW Koala Strategy is outdated and unreliable,” Faehrmann wrote in the report. “Then came the fires.”
The parliament report detailed that some 5,000 koalas died in the fires, which is estimated to have killed a total of 1 billion animals in the country.
According to the outlet:
In the report, the committee makes several recommendations to help save the koalas, including a network of wildlife hospitals in key areas of the state, “staffed by suitably qualified personnel and veterinarians, including funding where appropriate.”
The group’s recommendations also includes additional spending on top of the $4 billion allocated over the next five years for the government’s existing Saving Our Species Iconic Koala Project.