The unprecedented bushfires in New South Wales and other areas have taken a heavy toll of koalas. Australia’s Environment minister, Sussan Ley, confirms loss of an appreciable number of koalas. She added that the full implications would emerge only after investigation and when more details are known. The fires devastated regions in various locations and there are fears for the existence of the animals. The estimated population of Australia’s koalas might reduce drastically. Earlier reports indicated the animals were “functionally extinct” but it might not be as serious as was made out.

However, there is no doubt that they are threatened.

The Guardian says there are many factors for the decline in population of koalas and other endangered species. Most of these pertain to humans. They have cleared the land to meet their own needs. Activities of this nature wipe away the natural habitats and they have to identify fresh locations to begin all over again. On top of these are the effects of global warming. There are some other species of endangered and vulnerable animals that are threatened by fire.

They rely on trees to survive and greenery is necessary for the environment. Bushfires destroy the very base for survival and play havoc with the lives of these species. As a result, they face an uncertain future.

The koalas are losing out

The current year’s bushfire crisis has highlighted the issue of koalas who are losing out to the vagaries of nature for which humans must take the blame.

In fact, there has been a downward trend in their populations for quite some time. That must be set right. A specific committee set up to study this aspect has revealed this and a representative admitted to a media outlet that it has “been happening slowly and silently.”

The Guardian quotes environment minister Sussan Ley on this subject.

She says - “Climate change is a huge issue and we are playing our part. We are meeting and beating our targets, it’s very important that we do that.”

Bushfires and drought played havoc

According to Sky News, the koala population in New South Wales was already in danger because of loss of Eucalypt forests, which suffered due to years of drought. Eucalyptus trees can withstand fires and provide fresh leaf growth, but many of them cannot survive particularly intense burns. These trees are the main habitat for koalas and the tender leaves are their source of food. In the opinion of conservationists, the surviving koalas would require greater intervention of humans.

The fires have destroyed more than 12.4 million acres in five states since September. There is also an apprehension that this crisis could affect the country's economy during its peak tourist season. There are some famous tourist spots and people Travel from distant places to enjoy the sights. However, many of these places are shrouded in smoke for weeks. A local business owner admits - "We're all affected by the lack of tourists.”

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