Koalas – being one of the most likable animals by the public – have become the most threatened species of all time. Their habitats were swallowed and their endangerment prevailed, thanks to the Australian wildfires of 2019-20.
However, the situation in Australia on the said matter has been eerie. While numerous environmentalists claim that the climate change is the primary reason, there’s more to the story. There’s a big question mark on the arsonist activities too, but there’s no intelligence involvement on the said matter. Since September 2019, police enforcement actions have been carried out country-wide.
Koalas’ precious eucalyptus trees – a love-hate relationship?
Koalas mostly thrive in eucalyptus trees, but the trees proved to be disloyal to their inhabitants. The trees koalas call home easily catch fire, fueling the 2019-20 wildfires. Native to 700 species, Australia faced the world’s worst wildfires, thanks to these gum trees. In an article by Live Science, they state that the leaves fall and form the fuel of the fire, while the bark rips off of the tree in ribbon-like peels and catalyzes the fire. But that is just the start. The renowned eucalyptus oil comes in to serve as gasoline and turn the wildfire explosive.
Not to forget that not only do eucalyptus trees serve as an abode for koalas, but also are a source of sustenance. While the wildfires sweep the “eucalyptic” territory, these marsupials have no where to go. The wildfires destroyed millions of acres of land and 70% of their breed.
Koala-fication for rehabilitation?
It takes almost 2-3 years for a koala to mature in to a full-grown mammal. The time-span is insufficient to cover up for the loss of breed, and the only solution is rehabilitation and sustenance of the existing ones. There are countless governmental and non-governmental agencies working towards the cause. But, their efforts go to vain when there is still no Australian law in practice to ensure their protection.
However, that shouldn’t stop the locals to support these organizations’ cause. WIRES, a renowned wildlife rescue organization, received donations of AUD 60 million in February 2020. For more information, visit WWF‘s page.
In conclusion, the koala population is under stress right now. With enough donations, governmental support and global awareness, these endangered makeshift-bears will thrive.