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24 September, 2021

Dropping Bear numbers, a real concern

THE much beloved koala is under increased pressure with populations across Queensland declining by 37 per cent in the past three years.

By Peter McCullagh

The natural habitat for the koalas has been under pressure for many years along with an increase in predators such as wild dogs and cats.

The sad news for residents in Far North Queensland is the numbers are catastrophically low and, in some areas, extinct.

The Australian Koala Foundation released this week the alarming figures showing a nationwide decline placing the future of this iconic creature in serious doubt.

Chair of the Australian Koala Foundation, Deborah Tabart OAM, said she is hoping the Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley will take notice of these alarming numbers and get on with her job of protecting the koala’s habitat.

“The koala is extinct in 47 federal electorates and across the nation we have seen an alarming decline in numbers, some regions have populations as low as 10 koalas.

“We need the government to protect this iconic Australia animal, because once it’s gone, we have lost a beautiful and rich heritage forever.”

In the north the federal electorate of Kennedy, with more than 93 per cent of the koala natural habitat remaining and has between 100 and 200 koalas left in the wild, whereas the koala is considered to be extinct in this area.

Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures just north of Cairns has committed considerable resources to preserving and promoting this beautiful Australian animal.

Michael O’Brien from Hartley’s explained the importance of having a strong and healthy koala population in zoos and wildlife parks.

“The main role of a robust and healthy zoo koala program is to allow visitors the opportunity to see Koalas up close, creating an enjoyable personal experience.

“They can understand more about the koala, it’s habitat and what pressure the wild koala population is currently experiencing.

“People are more inclined to preserve something if they understand and have an emotional attachment, this is what our koala program endeavours to do with all visitors,” he explained.

With very few koalas in the wild in Far North Queensland the only way visitors and locals can see these iconic Australian mammals is by visiting  a local wildlife park that cares for koalas.

Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures has 20 Koalas and is located 40 minutes north of Cairns conducting daily koala talks and close up experiences for visitors.


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