The Australian Koala Foundation has reported that koala bears – an iconic symbol of Australia, the only place in the world where they are found – have become ‘functionally extinct’. There are just 80,000 koalas left in the wild and experts fear there aren’t enough breeding adults left to support another generation of the pouched mammals.
The tree-dwelling species has been ravaged by the effects of rising temperatures and heatwaves, which have caused widespread deforestation and fatal dehydration in koalas, according to the AKF. Only 41 of the koala’s 128 known habitats in federal environments have any of the animals left.
If a new disease or genetic pathogen of any kind is introduced, surviving koalas will die off rapidly. Activists are begging local pols to step in.