Why Are The Koalas Endangered?

This teddy bear-like mammal is the biggest surviving marsupial in the world. The International Union for the Conservation of Natural Resources has listed the koala as a critically endangered species since 1996.

While it remains protected in some countries, especially Australia, it’s being hunted at alarming rates in others, where it’s viewed as vermin because it eats farmers’ crops and trees. Here are some reasons why scientists are alarmed about the future of this precious animal on our planet.

Koala Habitat

The Eastern Forests in Australia provide important habitat for Eastern Grey Koalas because this region is one of the few areas with untouched natural forests and a reasonable koala population density. However, many other factors contribute to their endangered status, including human-induced changes to the land, such as logging and development. Another key factor is drought conditions and wildfires that have been attributed to climate change.

Koala Diet

Koalas eat mostly eucalyptus leaves that are high in fiber and low in nutritional value. Since their diet does not provide enough nutrients, they eat up to 18 hours a day. Scientists also believe that eucalyptus leaves have toxic substances that prevent koalas from digesting other foods, leading to malnutrition, ulcers, and gastrointestinal disorders. In addition, deforestation and wildfires are destroying their habitat, which greatly increases their precarity.

The Poachers’ Toll

Destruction of natural habitat poses the greatest risk to koala populations. Much of this land clearing and development happens in coastal regions, where forest trees are harvested for timber. Poachers also kill about 5000-6000 koalas yearly for their fur, bringing in up to $100 per animal.

This infographic provides additional information on the dangers facing our fuzzy friends. As you’ll see, they will face extinction if we don’t take action soon.

How to Help Protect This Cute Creature From Extinction

Koala populations have taken a sharp nosedive in recent years and are now listed as critically endangered by The IUCN Red List. If you want to help protect koalas, there are several things you can do.

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