Save the Koala

Koalas are cute but they're also under threat in their Aussie homeland!
   

Koalas are well-known as an icon of Australia and many people who visit Australia as tourists hope to see and hold a koala. But it's less well known that koalas in the wild are facing unprecedented pressure as their trees are cleared, existing habitat becomes more vulnerable and isolated and more roads bisect their territories resulting in more koalas being run over.

As housing creeps into koala territory, trees that are homes for koalas become fewer and farther between and many koalas become victims of domestic dogs, even when the dogs are in their own yards” said Deborah Tabart, Executive Director of the Australian Koala Foundation.

The Australian Koala Foundation (AKF) is the organisation dedicated to ‘saving the koala’. The AKF’s mission is to achieve the long-term conservation of koalas and their habitat and to diminish current and future threats to koalas in the wild.

Established in 1986, the Australian Koala Foundation funds research, educates people about koalas and their needs, raises awareness, and seeks solutions to the problems facing koalas. The AKF’s vision includes a National Koala Act to provide solutions for managing koalas across all land tenures and setting a national standard for mapping koala habitat across its range so that conservation efforts on the ground can be maximised.

Loss of koala habitat is the major threat facing koalas today. Since white settlement of Australia, roughly 80% of the koala’s habitat has been destroyed and of what remains, most occurs on privately owned land and almost none is protected.

Koalas face additional threats such as road death, dog attack, disease and bushfire. From a national population of around 100,000 koalas, roughly 4000 are killed by dogs and cars each year. In the 1920s approximately 3 million koalas were shot for their fur. Today the koala is a protected species but its habitat is not protected.

The koala is arguably now on the brink of disaster in many parts of its remaining geographic range. Regardless of recent public debates over population estimates, there is little disagreement over the dramatic extent of habitat clearing, degradation and fragmentation, nor about the fact that numbers have declined to a fraction of the millions that existed at the time of legalised hunting for the fur trade, which continued until as recently as the 1920's.

There are many people who are working very hard to achieve the conservation of the koala and you can join them by visiting www.savethekoala.com.

The only way to save koalas is to save their habitat, the eucalyptus forests where they live, and which they must have to survive. This is what the Australian Koala Foundation is trying to achieve.

But they can't do it alone and they need the help of people like you. You may think that just one person cannot make any difference in helping koalas or in helping our environment generally, but if each person does even one little thing to help, it can add up to a lot of help.

The Australian Koala Foundation receives no funding from any government so they rely on people like you to help raise funds for their important work in saving koalas for future generations to enjoy.

If you are unable to help in any of these ways, it's very important for the well-being of the environment everywhere in the world, that we all do as much as we can to help in the area where we live, by doing such things as recycling cans, plastic, paper etc, by taking the bus, tram or train instead of using our cars, by using less harmful chemical sprays in our gardens and homes, by asking not to have a plastic bag when we are shopping unless we REALLY need one (or better still, taking our own cloth bags when we go out shopping so that we do not need a plastic one at all) planting more trees, and writing letters to politicians and newspapers to voice our concerns about the destruction of our environment.

It's very important that each person takes responsibility for doing the right thing for the environment in their own area. Imagine if everyone in the world did this. As the population of the world is about 5.6 billion people, that would be around 5.6 billion little things which would add up to a LOT of help!


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