As we all know, news of the uncontrollable bushfire
in Australia has been hogging the headlines in recent times.
The extent of these bush fires were so great that it had burned many living things along with the vegetation.
One of the species that was most affected was the koalas.
Australian Koala Foundation chairman Deborah Tabart told Australian Daily Mail
that some 350 koalas may have been killed in this week's Port Macquarie bushfires alone.
On top of that number, Tabart also believes that many koalas may have died in bushfires elsewhere in the country as well, but they have yet to confirm the numbers.
In total, more than 1,000 koalas are estimated to have lost their lives due to the bushfires, Talbart told the news portal.
To makes matter worse, the fire that is currently devastating the Queensland and New South Wales areas have destroyed 80 per cent of the koalas' natural habitat.
As the western parts of NSW have not had significant rain in 25 years, their habitat will struggle to recover, the report said.
Are they facing extinction?
Meanwhile, the report quoted BBC
as saying that the koalas are now claimed to be “functionally extinct
”, something that Tabart had said in a press release earlier this year.
An animal species is considered functionally extinct when its population declines to a certain point that they can no longer play a significant role in the larger ecosystem.
However, there are scientists who doubt Tabart’s claim.
Noah Greenwald, the endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told New York Times
in a seperate report that it’s “too premature” to say that the koalas are functionally extinct, as it is difficult to accurately estimate the true population size of koalas in Australia.
Thus, such claims could damage the trust that the public have in the scientific and conservation community, Greenwald told the news portal.
Building an ark
Despite that, it can't be denied that the koala population in Australia is slowly diminishing because of the bushfires.
In the wake of the bush fires, the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has set up a GoFundMe page
to ask for donation to help treat the injured animals.
The fund quickly surpassed its AUD25,000 (RM70,600) goal, collecting more than AUD1.8mil (RM5.08mil)
from more than 30,000 donours.
According to Insider
, the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital plans to use the money to build and install automatic drinking stations for koalas the in areas affected by the bushfires.
The hospital will also be building a 'Koala Ark' so that injured koalas have a healthy habitat to rehabilitate and breed.
Having just lost our very own Sumatran Rhino
recently, we hope that Australia could save their koalas.