The Australian government has declared that koalas in eastern Australia are endangered due to disease, habitat loss and other threats. The change in status applies to koalas along the country’s east coast, in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. They were previously listed as vulnerable.
Biologists believe koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations in some areas have fallen more than 50% since 2001 and could face extinction by 2050. Their populations have been reduced by chlamydia, drought, deforestation and recent wildfires that have devastated parts of the country.
In the video below, Australia’s ABC television interviews Stuart Branch, with WWF-Australia, about the government’s decision to list the country’s iconic marsupial as endangered.