Koala Population Slashed by Bushfires

13 January 2020 | Posted under Edit the Editor Vocab Constab

It is feared that the devastating bushfires in Australia have wiped out almost a third of the koala population in New South Wales.

More than three million hectares have been destroyed in the eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales, which is where thousands of koalas live.

The marsupials (not bears) are native to Australia but it was estimated there was less than 80,000 left in the wild before the bushfires started.

There were around 28,000 koalas in New South Wales but Australia’s environment minister said to 30 per cent of their habitat had been destroyed, and it was unlikely they would have survived.

Other animals have also been affected by the fires, such as the western ground parrot in Western Australia and the Kangaroo Island dunnart in Southern Australia.

An ecology professor at the University of Sydney estimated the bushfires have claimed the lives of almost 480 million animals.

The Australian military and navy have joined the rescue efforts after the bushfires ripped through tourist locations and rural areas over Christmas.

Navy ships helped evacuate people who were trapped on beaches after being forced to flee their homes, while firefighters were flown in by military helicopters where roads were inaccessible.

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