The Australian government declared the koala an endangered species in NSW, Victoria and Queensland on February 11th, as drought, bush fires, disease and habitat loss have drastically reduced its numbers. This animal is an emblem of the country’s unique wildlife.
The announcement came two years after a parliamentary inquiry predicted that koalas could be extinct by 2050 without urgent government intervention. Environmentalists welcomed the koalas’ new status, but condemned Australia’s failure to protect the species.
The koala was listed as “vulnerable” in 2012, and it wasn't until the 2019 massive bush fires destroyed the animal's habitats across Australia, that its plight gained the global attention it deserves.
Additionally, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced last month that the government would commit 50 million Australian dollars over four years to koala recovery and conservation efforts.