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Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) eating leaves, southeast Queensland © Doug Gimesy / WWF-Aus

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) eating leaves, southeast Queensland © Doug Gimesy / WWF-Aus

Map explains dramatic koala decline in Queensland

21 Jul 2017

Keywords
  • land management
  • koalas
  • tree-clearing

WWF-Australia has produced a map based on Queensland Government habitat mapping, that shows the dramatic destruction and breakup of koala habitat in Queensland from historic and ongoing tree-clearing.

 

Decline of Queensland koala habitat over the last 200 years © Martin Taylor

 

Before Europeans arrived in the 1800s, a vast unbroken koala forest stretched for hundreds of kilometres from Gympie down into New South Wales.

 

Now, most of that forest has been cleared and what remains is highly broken up or fragmented by paddocks, crops, roads, powerlines and suburbs.

 

As a result, the once thriving Koala Coast population of koalas has declined by an estimated 80% between 1996 and 2014 according to a recent Government report.

 

A scientific review released today by the Queensland Government highlights that tree-clearing is a severe threat for the koala and many others of Queensland’s 949 threatened species.

 

The scientists also confirm recent WWF analysis in the 2016 Building Nature’s Safety Net report that the state system of national parks and protected areas is too small at present to prevent further extinctions.

 

“We are seeing runaway bulldozing of bushland after the former Queensland government removed protections,” said WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Martin Taylor.

 

“We must bring back strong forest safeguards to prevent the extinction of the koala and many other threatened Australian animals like gliders, woodland birds, wombats and wallabies,” he said.

 

WWF-Australia media contact:

Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571

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