Due to record-breaking drought and bushfires, over 1,000 koalas have been killed in Australia. The recent natural disaster has eradicated 80 percent of koala habitats, living the species “functionally extinct.”
As Forbes reports, functional extinction is when a population is so limited they no longer play a significant role in their ecosystem. This means the population becomes no longer viable. While some individuals can produce, the limited number of koalas makes the long-term viability of the species unlikely.
Though this news is sobering, people all over Australia are taking action to help koalas, One notable video shows a woman taking the shirt off of her back to protect a burning koala. Displays of activism have increased donation to support hospitalization and help for burned koalas.
Watch the video below:
The Australian government is being urged by the people to enact a Koala Protect Act. The legislation was written in 2016 but was never passed into law. Reportedly, it was inspired by the Bald Eagle Protect Act in the US. If enacted, the act would work to protect habitats and trees vital to koalas, as well as protect koalas from hunting.
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If you would like to help, the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital setup a Go Fund Me page accepting donations. Funds will be used to treat injured koalas, build koala drinking stations, and build a “Koala Ark” as a refuge for burned koalas to live in during rehabilitation. So far, over $1.33 million has been raised toward the $25,000 goal. 30,000 donors across the world have participated.
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