The threats faced by koalas

PROJECT TIP
Think of some ideas which could help in reducing the amount of bushland which is cut down.

Since Europeans first settled in Australia in 1788, Australia’s eucalyptus forests have been vanishing at an alarming rate.

More than four fifths of original Koala habitat has been destroyed. This makes it very important that we save what is left.

The main causes for the loss of habitat are:

Clearing of the land: for farms, houses, shops, factories, roads, logging and mining. While we humans need modern conveniences, we should plan for the future to use our resources more efficiently and agree to set aside adequate areas for wildlife. We should also plan for other solutions to problems such as transportation. For example, instead of building more roads and buying more and more cars, we should use public transport like buses and trains that use less resources per person.

Clearing of the forests means that all wildlife, including Koalas, will suffer from loss of their homes and food. This results in many Koalas experiencing stress, and then becoming sick and dying. They are also more likely to suffer injury or death from dogs and cars. Because most Koalas live on land which is privately owned, it is very important that landowners are encouraged to protect and regenerate Koala habitat.

Bushfires: Koalas are at great risk from bushfires. If a Koala population is living in an area of bushland which is surrounded by development, the whole colony could be wiped out in a single fire.

Dieback: Dieback is the gradual dying of gum trees. Scientists think that it may result from damage to the land by man. Large areas of eucalypt forests have been destroyed because of dieback.

Other threats: The natural enemies of the Koala include dingoes, goannas, powerful owls, wedgetailed eagles and pythons, which are mostly a threat to young Koalas. Some animals which are not native to Australia, called feral animals, have become a problem for Koalas since they were brought here from other countries. These include dogs and foxes. Koalas can also suffer from not having enough food in times of drought.

"Our beautiful Koalas can't live without their gumtrees." Samantha (7)