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Koalas Face Extinction

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posted on Jun, 16 2004 @ 09:34 PM
Sign of the times? or natural course of evolution. It seems in spite of all of the fondness for the famous Australian Koala they are headed toward extinction....

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Koalas, an iconic symbol of Australia, face extinction as rapid urbanization along the eastern seaboard destroys their fragile habitat, environmental activists have warned.

The Australian Koala Foundation has written to the government urging it to declare the koala a vulnerable species after a survey of 1,000 koala habitats found 30 percent no longer had a koala in them and 60 percent had suffered widespread destruction.

"I truly believe that in my lifetime the koala will become extinct unless we do something," Deborah Tabarat, executive director of the foundation, told Reuters.

Koalas are protected by law but the eucalyptus trees they call home and which provide their only source of food are not.

There are about 100,000 koalas in Australia, down from an estimated seven to 10 million at the time of white settlement in 1788. In the 1920s three million koalas were shot for their fur.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Could this be true? .. As a parent I can tell you I have one daughter who is a huge Koala EVERYTHING collector. and this report will upset her. I have heard that these little animals actually have a bad temper and can be quite mean. yet they are cute. if I am not mistaken the Koala is to Australia what the bald eagle is to the U.S.A. I can't believe the Aussies would let this happen. but only time will tell.

[edit on 16-6-2004 by UM_Gazz]

posted on Jun, 16 2004 @ 11:11 PM
No Australian symbol really stands out as a national emblem like the bald eagle does for the US.

Probably more Aussies relate to fast moving / boxing kangaroos and that is the symbol of the league team and the national airline, rather than cuddly koalas. In Australia former Tourism Ministers get stuck into koalas because they piss and scratch too much.

And it is really funny seeing how savage and territorial they get in the wild.

The numbers that invade and cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the same day each year do seem to be dropping off, but I believe extinction is a long long way off and the story here is a cautionary one.

[edit on 17-6-2004 by MaskedAvatar]

posted on Jun, 17 2004 @ 12:39 AM
I believe the position could even be more serious than that. Another study suggests that koala extinction could actually happen along Australi's East coast in as little as 12 years.

There is an earlier item in the Sydney Morning Herald that mentions koala extinction is likely anyway, probably due to global warming. [The SMH now requires reg'n dammit]

Koala habitat, limited to certain species of eucalypts, is shrinking at an alarming rate due to population increase & subsequent building developments along our coastal strip.

[And no, MaskedAvatar, Aussies do not relate well to the "boxing kangaroo" you mention. That's old hat now & went out with Bazza McKenzie here!]

EDIT - here's another link relating to koalas & the threat of global warming -

Note also that the koala is the state emblem of Queensland.

[edit on 17/6/04 by Bastet]

posted on Jun, 17 2004 @ 08:58 PM
But the Cooktown Orchid has more traditionally been held out as the Queensland state emblem! I guess a koala would beat an orchid but I think pound for pound a kangaroo would outbox a koala, and then I would put perhaps an emu or wedgetailed eagle and definitely a cassowary over a kangaroo.

In the scheme of things koalas getting drunk on gum leaves all day occupy a similar position in their habitat as the three-toed sloth in its own.

My message to koalas: Shape Up Or Ship Out.

(sorry to conservationists).

posted on Jun, 17 2004 @ 09:57 PM
We're pretty democratic species-wise when it comes to State emblems, MaskedAvatar - each State has both a floral & an animal/bird one.

And you gotta get over this boxing kangaroo predilection of yours! It's as outdated as calling someone "cobber". Sounds as if you'll eventually be saying the same about your own place's emblem if it approaches extinction - Shape up or ship out.

posted on Jun, 17 2004 @ 09:59 PM
How long does it take to grow a eucalyptus tree capable of feeding a koala?

How many trees are needed to support a viable koala population?

How fast is urban sprawl deforesting the trees?

posted on Jun, 17 2004 @ 10:16 PM
Aw hell, I ain't got the time to look this up!

What I do know, is that koalas only feed on certain species of eucalypts, & they munch through mega-amounts of leaves daily. Eucalypts, particularly the gum trees I've seen koalas in, are a fairly slow-growing tree. They are very spindly affairs for quite a few years, and it takes ages [sorry I'm not more specific] for them to develop a stout trunk & a canopy.

The urban sprawl that is happening all the way up the Eastern coast has to be seen to be believed - once a year is enough for me.

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