SYDNEY (AP) – In order to better protect koalas and other rare animals, the New South Wales government wants to incorporate another 2,000 hectares of bushland into national parks on Australia’s east coast.
To this end, the authorities have bought three blocks in Monaro in the south of the region, near Yampa in the north and near Tari in the east, the Australian News Agency reported on Monday. She added that the shift to protected areas would also benefit other endangered species such as long-snouted kangaroos and owls.
“Securing the koala habitat is part of our strategy to double the koala population by 2050,” said the region’s environment minister, James Griffin. “In addition to koalas, these national park expansions will protect an incredible array of endangered species.”
The Australian government had already officially raised the critically endangered status of marsupials in the states of New South Wales and Queensland and in the Australian Capital Territory with the capital Canberra from “vulnerable” (endangered) to “critically endangered” (critically endangered). In this way, the authorities can better protect the animals. Droughts, wildfires, disease and habitat loss have led to a sharp decline in koala numbers over the past 20 years.
In particular, the massive wildfires from August 2019 to March 2020 hit marsupials hard. According to estimates by the environmental organization WWF, more than 60,000 koalas that are only down-eared have been killed, injured, driven away or otherwise traumatized. Images of animals with chiseled fur and burnt paws spread around the world.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220509-99-214084 / 2
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