Images of burnt colas went around the world two years ago. Tens of thousands of marsupials have been killed in a devastating wildfire in eastern Australia. Nevertheless, large-scale deforestation has gone unnoticed by many environmental and animal rights activists.
Meanwhile, like the kangaroos, the symbols of Australia and the colas found only there have become so extinct that the Australian government has announced their populations in the eastern states of New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. Queensland is “mainly endangered” (“endangered”).
Previously, colas were classified as “vulnerable” at the lower level. Environment Minister Susan Lay followed the recommendation of the Scientific Committee on Endangered Species.
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The government intends to spend $ 50 million (31 31 million) over the next four years to protect the animals. “We are taking unprecedented steps to protect Kola and are collaborating with scientists, medical researchers, veterinarians, communities, states, local governments and tribal peoples,” Lay said.
About 50 percent of animals are infected with chlamydia
In addition to deforestation and wildfires, climate change, dog attacks, traffic accidents, and bacterial chlamydial infections endanger marsupials on the Fifth Continent. Chlamydia affects more than 50 percent of the Koala population, especially in southeastern Queensland and New South Wales.
As a result, the animals may become infertile and die. “Unfortunately, the Kola people, especially in New South Wales, were in trouble before the 2019-2020 Black summer bushfires,” said Alison Kelly, chair of the Friends of the Kola group of animal rights groups.
The report by the Australian Cola Foundation (AKF) had already caused a stir last September. At the time, it said the number of colas across Australia had dropped by 30 per cent since 2018. There may now be less than 60,000 colas in Australia, according to the organization – 32,000 to 58,000, AKF believes.
Although these are only estimates, it is safe to say that the 2019/20 wildfire alone contributed to the animal’s downfall. According to the WWF, an animal welfare organization, about 60,000 koalas are said to have died in the blaze.
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According to the AKF, the situation is worse in the state of New South Wales, where Sydney is also located. The number there is said to have dropped by more than 40 per cent. But many cola areas in Australia have also seen a decline.
“The remaining population in some regions is estimated at five to ten kolas,” the AKF said in a statement. However, there are no official figures from the government. An inventory – a kind of “survey” of colas – is said to be at work.
Colas were hunted until 1927
The dramatic decline in cola numbers is not unique in history. Beutler had previously had to deal with a severe downturn. After millions of colas settled on the Fifth Continent 250 years ago, in 1900 the marsupials were hunted down so ruthlessly that their attractive, delicate fur was almost pushed to the brink of extinction.
Until the practice was banned in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria in the early 1900s, things started to happen again. In Queensland, hunting did not stop until 1927.
Animal rights activists such as Alison Kelly now believe that the decision to classify koalas as “essentially extinct” will shake people and, above all, politics. The survival of the species is now so threatened, “urgent action must be taken,” he said.
To quickly improve the condition of the colas, it is not enough to count the animals. Among other things, environmental groups and researchers are calling for an end to deforestation and more deforestation, as habitats are now increasingly fragmented or separated from one another. At worst, experts fear the colas will be extinct by 2050. The new vaccine against chlamydia has been giving some hope since October. The new vaccine, meanwhile, passed the first two trials and was safe and effective.
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