New South Wales launches koala protection plan

9 May 18

The Australian state of New South Wales has unveiled a AU$34m plan to help protect the koala population, which has dropped drastically over the past two decades.

The money will go to establishing forest reserves and to build a hospital to care for sick and injured koalas, which are listed as a “vulnerable” species in New South Wales.

The Australian Koala Foundation estimates there may be as few as 43,000 koalas left in the wild, down from a population believed to be more than 10 million before the European settlement of the continent in 1788.

Gladys Berejiklian, premier of New South Wales state, said in the announcement of the government plan: “Koalas are a national treasure.

“It would be such a shame if this nationally iconic marsupial did not have its future secured.”

Under the funding plan, thousands of hectares will be set aside to reserve the koalas’ natural habitat.

The loss of habitat, dog attacks, car strikes, climate change and disease is believed to have taken their toll on the koala population.

Last month, Australia also pledged AU$500m to protect the Great Barrier Reef by reducing agricultural pesticides and improving water quality.

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