Land-Clearing Destroyed 90,000 Hectares Of Queensland Koala Habitat In Just One Year
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More than 90,000 hectares of koala habitat in Queensland was cleared in a single year, according to a new study.
The Guardian reports how The Wilderness Society (TWS) analysed the Queensland government’s most recent Statewide Landcover and Trees Study.
They found that 92,718 hectares of clearing occurred in koala habitats from 2018-2019, equating to almost two-thirds of the Brisbane local government area.
The study also showed that nearly 80 per cent of the clearing was due to beef production.
TWS Queensland campaign manager Anita Cosgrove told the Guardian that species protection laws have to be enforced more thoroughly, and the scale of meat consumption needs to be addressed.
“(As) weak as existing deforestation and species protection laws may be, what is actually most alarming is when they simply aren’t applied at all,” she said.
“Governments must take the action needed to effectively address species declines, and it’s also well and truly time to take a good, hard look at the industry most responsible for the damage.
“In Queensland, that is the beef industry.”
The study followed Australia listing Koalas as an endangered species last month.
According to the Australian Koala Foundation, around 60,000 koalas perished or were affected by the ‘Black Summer’ bushfires in 2019-2020.
There's also approximately 80,000 koalas left in the wild, indicating numbers have risen to 30 percent in the past three years.
Despite the species being recognised as ‘vulnerable’ a decade ago, the federal government continues to approve plans of land clearing, which is contributing to the population numbers.
Earlier this month, The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) found that around 200,000 hectares had been greenlit for destruction in the past 10 years.
Environmental Minister Sussan Ley announced that $50 million would be going towards koala conservation after hearing koalas had been listed as endangered.
Although WWF Australia chief executive Dermot O’Gorman welcomed the funds, he said the federal government needs to act urgently to protect the habitats of these vulnerable animals,
He said in a statement: “The koala has gone from no listing to now being declared endangered on the Australian east coast within a decade.
“That is a shockingly fast decline for one of the world’s most iconic animals.
“The endangered status is a grim but an important decision by Minister Ley.
“There is still time to save this globally iconic species if the uplisting serves as a turning point in koala conservation.
“We need stronger laws and landholder incentives to protect their forest homes.”
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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