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Koala Bears Declining

The number of wild koala bears in Australia has been estimated at somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000. (There used to hundreds of thousands of them.) This range is so large due to a lack of funds granted to study them. Their numbers are declining steadily to the point some scientists are saying they could go extinct. In some areas they might be down to twenty percent of what they used to be. When the Europeans arrived in the 1700s there may have been ten million koalas living in the wild.

Their habitat has been overtaken by urbanization and farming. The less eucalyptus trees there are, the more they will seek them out by walking across ground that includes roads where they get run over. Also, the more time they spend on the ground the more they are attacked and killed by dogs.

Global warming is causing rising temperatures and droughts which make eucalyptus trees produce less leaves, and can even kill them. Very dry conditions also contribute to larger forest fires, and more of them. These fires consume many of the trees koalas need for food as well as kill the bears. With a dwindling number of trees they might face malnutrition and starvation. To make matters worse, they are also suffering from a sexually transmitted disease – chlamydia.

With all these factors contributing to their decline, one might assume they are protected in Australia as an endangered species, but they aren’t. The Australian government is going to vote on whether to list the iconic bear as endangered or to keep it at its current legal status.  It’s hard to imagine them voting against protecting the animal they are known for around the world.

You can read more about Koalas at the Australian Koala Foundation site.

Image Credit: Cody Pope

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4:47AM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

They're NOT BEARS, they're marsupials.

11:04AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

You Suck USA. Take care of what is important to US!!!

11:03AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

Our country is sending millions to other countries and money to the torture of animals in the name of animal testing & we can't take care of them? Stop the torture and take care of what is important to us!!

4:47PM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

It's very sad, we need to do more to protect their habitat.

11:40PM PDT on May 3, 2012

6:46AM PDT on May 2, 2012


10:43AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Save the Koalas!!!

4:41AM PDT on Jun 30, 2011

sad :( aussies please vote on listing them as endangered!!

3:14AM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

I think that humanity should restrain its numbers and demands on nature. We should take the pressure off, so that wildlife can survive. We may need a more sustainable economy to acheieve this - an economy that does not require endlessly increasing GDP. I encourage everone to look at the CASSE site at and consider signing the position statement there. And tell friends!

12:40PM PDT on Jun 22, 2011

breaks my heart. I was lucky enough to hold a koala. they are such beautiful creatures...we need to do everything we can to protect them.

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