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Australia has lost 30% of its koalas

تراجع سريع لأعداد الكوالا في أستراليا

USA Today

Australia has lost about one-third of its koalas in three years as drought, land clearing and bushfires have threatened the marsupials, the Australian Koala Foundation announced Tuesday.

Since 2018, the foundation estimates there has been a 30% decline in koala populations across the country as populations have dropped from between 45,745 and 82,170 to between 32,065 and 57,920 in 2021. New South Wales in southeastern Australia saw the worst decline at 41%.

The koala is now extinct in 47 electorates, and the remaining populations of others can be just five to 10 koalas, the foundation said. All regions of Australia saw population declines.

“Our nation’s most loved creature is in rapid decline,” the report said.

The population decline was accelerated by devastating wildfires from 2019 to early 2020, Deborah Tabart, chair of the Australian Koala Foundation, said in a statement. Tabart also pointed to drought, heat waves and reduced water access, as well as land clearing for farming, housing development and mining.

“I have seen some landscapes that look like the moon – with dead and dying trees everywhere,” Tabart said.

She added: “Urgent action to stop land clearing in prime Koala habitat is required if we are to save our beloved national animal from peril.”

Between 1888 and 1927, more than 8 million koalas were killed for fur, according to the foundation.

The Australian Koala Foundation said it has invested millions of dollars and decades of research into examining koala population decline. The foundation is the first to estimate koala population sizes in each of Australia’s 128 federal electorates that have or have had koalas. The foundation also created a map to monitor national koala populations.

“These maps simply and powerfully illustrate the dramatic impact humans have had on the landscape, and the devastating losses the land has felt since Europeans first settled in Australia,” the foundation said. “…Today, the pressure on the Koala is even greater.”

Research isn’t enough, Tabart said.

“Each and every federal politician in these electorates should now be on notice to protect not only the koalas in their electorate but the habitat that remains,” she said.

Tabart also pushed for the passing of a koala protection act, similar to the Bald Eagle Endangered Species Act in the U.S., to help protect the marsupials on a national level.

د ب أ

سيدني: كشفت دراسة جديدة أن أعداد حيوان الكوالا في جميع أنحاء أستراليا تشهد «تراجعًا سريعًا»، حيث انخفضت بنحو 30% خلال ثلاث سنوات. وقالت مؤسسة كوالا الأسترالية (إيه كيه إف) إن كل منطقة في أستراليا شهدت انخفاضًا في أعداد الكوالا، وكانت نيو ساوث ويلز الأسوأ بنسبة انخفاض 41 %.

وتابعت المؤسسة أن الكوالا انقرض الآن في 47 من أصل 128 إقليمًا اتحاديًا في البلاد، وكان هناك إقليم واحد فقط لديه أكثر من 5000 من حيوانات الكوالا. وقدرت المؤسسة أن تكون أعداد الكوالا المتبقية في بعض المناطق محدودة للغاية وقد تصل إلى 5 أو 10 حيوانات فقط. وتقدر المؤسسة أن هناك ما بين 32065 إلى 57920 متبقية من حيوان الكوالا في البلاد بعد أن كانت ما بين 45745 إلى 82170 في عام 2018.

وقالت ديبورا تابارت رئيسة مؤسسة (إيه كيه إف)، إن حرائق الغابات خلال عامي 2019 و 2020 ساهمت في هذا التراجع. وتابعت «إنه مع ذلك، فمن المؤكد أنها ليست السبب الوحيد الذي يجعلنا نرى أعداد الكوالا في انخفاض. لقد شهدنا انخفاضًا حادًا في أعداد الحيوانات في المناطق الداخلية بسبب الجفاف وموجات الحرارة ونقص المياه».

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