10:04 Monday, 25 November 2019
Over €990,000 has been donated so far to ‘save the koala’.
The impact of Australia’s recent devastating bush fires on Koala populations may be worse than initially feared.
Sadly, Deborah Tabart who is the chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, estimates that over 80% of their habitat has been burnt.
This had led to the marsupials being declared “functionally extinct”.
What Does ‘Functionally Extinct’ Mean?
According to campaigners from the The Australian Koala Foundation, there are now fewer than 80,000 wild koalas left in the world.
80,000 might sound like a lot, but experts are worried that it won’t be enough.
And due to the trauma and reduced numbers because of the recent fires it’s unlikely this current generation will reproduce.
This is the reason they are being listed as a ‘functionally extinct’ species.
‘Functionally extinct’ describes animal populations, like these, who have so few remaining pairs that they are unlikely to produce a new generation.
It also describes animals who are breeding in such few numbers that they are more likely to become ill from disease.
It is not just fire threatening koala populations.
It’s not just bush fires that are threatening koalas, recent studies said thousands of koalas died from dehydration in an intense heatwave in Australia.
Researchers say it is difficult to track of and keep exact numbers of the koalas because of the way they move around and live in lots of different habitats. They move from coastal islands and tall eucalyptus trees, to woodland forests.
The number given by the Australian Koala Foundation is much lower than the most recent academic estimates.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital recently set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the care of rescued koalas.
At the time of writing they have already raised over $1.6 million AUD, with that number still increasing.
You can donate to the Australian Koala Foundation, or adopt a koala, here.