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Annie the koala gets her bandages changed © WWF-Australia/Veronica Joseph

A koala in care with RSPCA Queensland, cuddling a panda plush © RSPCA QLD / Peter Wilson

Living Planet Report shows “protecting koalas should be above politics”

10 Sep 2020

Keywords
  • environmental laws
  • fire
  • koalas
  • new south wales
  • threatened species
On the day WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 reveals global wildlife populations fell by 68% since 1970, NSW’s political leaders are sparring over whether interventions to help protect the koala are too much effort.

WWF-Australia’s Chief Conservation Officer Rachel Lowry said: “During the bushfires we literally watched people take the shirt off their backs to help save our koalas. It makes the debate unfolding in NSW at present even more of a letdown.”

“Protecting koalas should be above politics. Koalas were already on a path to extinction in Eastern Australia by 2050 before the bushfires, now the situation is worse. WWF has just released a scientific report showing a 71% decline in koala populations in six key fire locations in NSW.

“If we can't find a way to all work together to protect this iconic Australian animal, how can we hope to rebuild and recover from the devastating fires of last summer?”

At the same time that NSW’s koala debate is unfolding, the Federal Government has ignored the advice of more than 60 environmental organisations and eminent Australian environmental scientists, introducing a bill to amend Australia’s nature laws. The proposed bill, likely to go to vote in the Senate in October, would place Australia’s states and territories as the decision makers of requests to approve the destruction of threatened species habitat.

“If approved this bill will worsen Australia’s extinction crisis and accelerate the loss of species like the koala across Eastern Australia,” said Ms Lowry.

“Australia is facing a critical moment. We are in an extinction crisis. We need to strengthen our nature laws, not weaken them, if we are to save the koala and the growing list of threatened species that are relying on us to forge a better way forward,” she said.

WWF is asking Australians to help stop our extinction crisis by urging their elected leaders to take a stand for wildlife: www.wwf.org.au/endextinction.