Australian gov't urged to stop destruction of endangered koala habitat

CANBERRA. KAZINFORM - The Australian government has been urged to stop approving the destruction of koala habitats to save the iconic species from extinction, Kazinform cites Xinhua.

The government of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) on Tuesday said it is seeking thoughts from the community on a draft plan to protect Canberra's koalas after the marsupial was listed as endangered in the territory as well as Queensland and New South Wales in 2022.

Launching the plan, ACT Environment Minister Rebecca Vassarotti said it reflected the urgent need to support koalas across the country and criticized the federal government for failing to act.

«Unless the country takes urgent action to protect our koalas, they will be extinct. The only way to protect koalas is to protect all remaining koala habitat wherever it is,» she said in a statement.

This Native Species Conservation Plan is a crucial step towards protecting and conserving koalas in ACT. Despite this, the Federal Government can still do more to coordinate preservation efforts across the country, she added.

«In the middle of an extinction crisis, the Federal Government last month gave the green light to the Isaac River coal mine in Queensland, a project which will see the destruction of endangered koala habitat.»

The long-term decline of koala populations on Australia's east coast was exacerbated by the devastating 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, during which more than 60,000 individuals were estimated to be perished.

There are no known koala populations in the wild in the ACT and the Australian Koala Foundation estimates it is extinct in the region.

Under the conservation plan, the government will seek to preserve a habitat suitable for koalas and investigate a possible breeding program, with the goal of releasing koalas back into the wild.

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