One of the world’s most iconic animal species, koalas, have suffered significantly in recent years. Since 2018, Australia’s koala populations have declined by 30 percent due to bushfires, drought, and habitat loss. Thankfully, efforts are underway to reverse that trend and help the marsupial bounce back.
One of the most notable recent efforts comes from the Australian government, which announced that it will spend a record $50 million Australian ($35 million US) over the next four years to ensure the long-term protection and recovery of koalas in the country.
“Koalas are one of Australia’s most loved and best recognised icons, both here at home and across the world, and we are committed to protecting them for generations to come,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The money will go towards “restoring koala habitat, improving our understanding of koala populations, supporting training in koala treatment and care, and strengthening research into koala health outcomes,” said Morrison.
Currently, the koala is considered a “vulnerable” species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. According to the IUCN, there are between 100,000 and 500,000 koalas in the wild, but the Australian Koala Foundation is confident that the number is actually lower as a result of the catastrophic bushfires of 2019.