A parliamentary inquiry revealed that Koalas in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) could become extinct by 2050 unless the government immediately intervenes to protect them and their habitat.
Due to the urban development, tree-cutting activities, mining and several other factors are working as main factors behind the loss of the animals in NSW. New South Wales has been the most populous state in the country.
Earlier this year, a prolonged, drought-fuelled bushfire season also devastated several wild lives, destroying about a quarter of their habitat across the state, and in some parts up to 81%.
“The evidence could not be more stark,” the inquiry’s 311-page final report said on Tuesday.
“The only way our children’s grandchildren will see a koala in the wild in NSW will be if the government acts upon the committee’s recommendations.”
A multi-party parliamentary committee commissioned the report and made 42 recommendations including an urgent census, prioritising the protection of the animal in the planning of urban development, and increasing conservation funding.
Stuart Blanch, manager of land clearing and restoration at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia, called on the government to heed the recommendations and strengthen protections for the animals’ habitat.
“WWF calls on the NSW Premier to rewrite weak land clearing laws to protect koala habitat, greatly increase funding for farmers who actively conserve trees where koalas live, and a transition out of logging koala forests and into plantations.” Blanch said in a statement.
The Australian Koala Foundation last year estimated that there were nearly 80,000 Koala left in Australia. The animal is also found in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory but their numbers are on the decline nationally, according to conservation groups.