Koalas ‘Functionally Extinct’ After Australia Bushfires Destroy 80% Of Their Habitat

  
Via:  john-russell  •  3 weeks ago  •  46 comments

Koalas ‘Functionally Extinct’ After Australia Bushfires Destroy 80% Of Their Habitat
 Deforestation and bushfires destroy the main nutrient source of koalas, the eucalyptus tree. An adult koala will eat up to 2 pounds of eucalyptus leaves per day as its main staple of nutrients. While eucalyptus plants will grow back after a fire, it will take months, leaving no suitable food source for koalas and starvation a likely scenario for many.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Koalas ‘Functionally Extinct’ After Australia Bushfires Destroy 80% Of Their Habitat



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An injured koala receives treatment after its rescue from a  bushfire at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on November 19, 2019 in Port Macquarie, Australia.

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As Australia experiences record-breaking drought and bushfires, koala populations have dwindled along with their habitat, leaving them “functionally extinct.”

The chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, Deborah Tabart, estimates that over  1,000 koalas have been killed from the fires and that 80 percent of their habitat has been destroyed.

Recent bushfires, along with prolonged drought and deforestation has led to koalas becoming “ functionally extinct ” according to experts.

Functional extinction is when a population becomes so limited that they no longer play a significant role in their ecosystem and the population becomes no longer viable. While some individuals could produce, the limited number of koalas makes the long-term viability of the species unlikely and highly susceptible to disease.


 Deforestation and bushfires destroy the main nutrient source of koalas, the eucalyptus tree. An adult koala will eat up to 2 pounds of eucalyptus leaves per day as its main staple of nutrients. While eucalyptus plants will grow back after a fire, it will take months, leaving no suitable food source for koalas and starvation a likely scenario for many.



Many are urging the Australian government to enact the Koala Protection Act, written in 2016 but never passed into law and molded after the Bald Eagle Protection Act in the U.S. The Koala Protection Act would work to protect habitats and trees vital to koalas as well as protect koalas from hunting.

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Koala rescued from the recent Australian bushfires



Recent viral videos of Australians rescuing koalas has led to increased donation to support hospitalization and help for burned koalas.

The  Port Macquarie Koala Hospital  setup a  Go Fund Me  page seeking donations to help the hospital treat injured koalas. To date, they have raised $1.33 million, well over their $25,000 goal. This comes from over 30,000 donors.

Part of their effort is to install drinking stations for koalas in areas devastated by the fires. The funds will also be used for a “Koala Ark” as a refuge for burned koalas to live in a healthy habitat during rehabilitation.


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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

I hope they can get these little guys back in business. A world without koala bears?  Unthinkable. 

 
 
 
shona1
1.1  shona1  replied to  JohnRussell @1    2 weeks ago

A/noon John. Just came in from watering the garden and what did I hear..One Koala sitting in the gumtree out the front grunting and snorting away. Some areas of NSW the Koala population has been decimated with the bushfires. Where as down here in Victoria, we have an over population that they are killing the gumtrees as the leaves cannot regenerate fast enough. Koalas are very territorial and relocating them can be extremely difficult. But many organisations and people quietly go about protecting and watching over them as we do around here. Our Great Southern Land with her flooding rains and massive bushfires go hand in hand...Many fires have been deliberately lit by kids, some as young as 10 have been caught...Words fail me!!!...The human and animal suffering, is beyond comprehension and so bloody heart breaking...

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.1.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  shona1 @1.1    2 weeks ago

It sounds horrible Shona. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
1.1.2  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  shona1 @1.1    2 weeks ago

Hi Shona,

Your description of what is going on there IS heartbreaking. Koalas are one of nature's gifts much like the panda. I hope that they can come back from this dire situation. 

 
 
 
shona1
1.1.3  shona1  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.1.2    2 weeks ago

Evening Perrie..Koalas are all over the country not just in NSW..Some areas have been severely hit and others have survived and flourishing still. Bushfires are very fickle will burn out one area and leave another completely untouched. This has been going on for thousands of years...Go back to these areas in 10 years time and all traces of fire will be gone..The gumtrees will start sprouting in a few weeks, tiny patches of green against the blackened tree trunks and earth..New life once again sprouting amongst the devastation... All you can do is hang on and survive and that applies to human and animal...As always both will be helped by their fellow Aussies..Mother Nature has already started the process dropping pods from the gumtrees that takes a bushfire for them to germinate. Once the regrowth starts small animals return. As the bushland takes hold the larger animals move back in including Koalas...It is truly an incredible sight to see evolving over the months and years. The current situation is grim and horrendous, the pain and suffering is so distressing and raw...But given time, it will evolve and Mother Nature will take hold and show us her best once again.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
1.1.4  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  shona1 @1.1.3    2 weeks ago

Thanks for the information, Shona. It still sounds very upsetting but understanding that gumtrees are much like our pine trees, that need a burn to get new growth, gives me some hope. Thank you for your very vivid description. 

 
 
 
1stwarrior
1.1.5  1stwarrior  replied to  shona1 @1.1.3    2 weeks ago

Shona1 - beautiful recap.  I worked with DoD and managed a Wildland Fire Crew whose primary job was to conduct controlled burns.  I'd have our biologist go to the projected area of the burns and determine if the forage/brush was dense enough for our burns.  We'd try to space them at 3 years.

During the burns, they were always in areas where the reforestation was necessary for regrowth and that the propagation of the potential burn would unleash the pods from the trees and the necessary brushes to gain a foothold in the new regrowth area. 

One of our primary target areas was the old growth - the larger, older longleaf pines.  The reason was we had a thriving population of red cockaded woodpeckers, a very critical species in the SE. The Red-cockaded Woodpecker is a habitat specialist of the Southeast’s once-vast longleaf pine stands. Its habitat—old pines with very little understory—was shaped by the region’s frequent lightning fires. They also occur in stands of loblolly, slash, and other pine species. The birds dig cavities in living pines softened by heartwood rot. They live in family groups that work together to dig cavities and raise young.

The species declined drastically as its original habitat was cut down, and the species was listed as Endangered in 1970.  We even had to go to court against a few large lumber companies whose properties abutted ours, to stop them from their "slash'n'burn", mass logging efforts - but it was working when I got transferred out here in the SW.

Thanks for the info - brings back great memories of burning smoke, fire trails, intense heat, getting the squat scared outta ya when a black bear or large buck would come running atcha just to get to a safer habitat.

 
 
 
shona1
1.1.6  shona1  replied to  1stwarrior @1.1.5    2 weeks ago

A/noon...This is just in:

Koalas in Port Macquarie have been particularly hard hit by the bushfire crisis. In late October, it was estimated that 350 animals died out of a population of 600.
The hospital disagreed with recent headlines that claimed koalas were functionally extinct due to the fires.
"Koalas are not functionally extinct across Australia. In the regions that have been fire-affected we won't know the full extent to changes in population dynamic until they are properly surveyed," Scott Castle, Assistant Clinical Director of Port Macquarie Koala Hospital said.
"It's far too broad to say they are functionally extinct."
 
 
 
bbl-1
2  bbl-1    3 weeks ago

The bigger picture.  Floods, drought and fires.  The world of the never Trumpers will pay the price.

Asinine that private citizens are required to do the right thing while governments will not, can not or don't care.

Will, "Drill baby drill," be our destiny?

 
 
 
1stwarrior
2.1  1stwarrior  replied to  bbl-1 @2    2 weeks ago

Are you really serious?????  WTF has Trump got to do with Australia?

Governments are now at fault for not allowing Mother Nature do what she has done for 4.5B years?

 
 
 
bbl-1
2.1.1  bbl-1  replied to  1stwarrior @2.1    2 weeks ago

Yes I am serious. 

 
 
 
Ronin2
2.1.2  Ronin2  replied to  bbl-1 @2.1.1    2 weeks ago

Read post 1.1 from Shona1. Tell us again how Trump is responsible for what is occurring. jrSmiley_80_smiley_image.gif

TDDS in the extreme.

 
 
 
bbl-1
2.1.3  bbl-1  replied to  Ronin2 @2.1.2    2 weeks ago

[delete]

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
3  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh    3 weeks ago

I feel really guilty now for having a koala fur jacket. I probably won't wear it anymore

 
 
 
Kavika
3.1  Kavika   replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @3    2 weeks ago

You may think your comment is funny. It isn't. In August 1927, 800,000 koalas were killed for their fur and the fur was sent to the US...Only a severe public backlash stopped the slaughter.

43B3007200000578-4835570-image-a-2_15040

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
3.1.1  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  Kavika @3.1    2 weeks ago

It wasn't humor. The jacket is my favorite but I'll probably not wear it anymore

 
 
 
Kavika
3.1.2  Kavika   replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @3.1.1    2 weeks ago

So I guess all your comments about wildlife and the environment is nothing more than BS.

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
3.1.3  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  Kavika @3.1.2    2 weeks ago

Whatever, let's go check out your closet and make sure there isn't any hypocrisy on a hanger.

 
 
 
Kavika
3.1.4  Kavika   replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @3.1.3    2 weeks ago

Feel free to check out my closet...The hypocrisy is hanging in your closet.

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
3.1.5  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  Kavika @3.1.4    2 weeks ago

Save those tales for your fishing buddies.

We all make a negative impact on the environment and indigenous ecosystems.

I do as well as Mr. Environmental jesus.

So your home has no wood that was taken from a forest? Impressive.

The koala isn't functionally extinct. 

Here's a more intelligent take without the virtue signaling.

https://www.cnet.com/news/koalas-are-not-functionally-extinct-but-they-need-our-help/

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3.1.6  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @3.1.5    2 weeks ago

The article you linked says 

There's no doubt koalas are in danger of disappearing for good. Population numbers have declined dramatically in the last century. The recent spate of bushfires play a role this decrease, but the bigger story is much more grim.

Whether or not they all agree or disagree that it is "functional extinction" , I bet you the use of the term brought their relief effort a big chunk of the money they collected. 

Sidenote : You are the only person I ever see using the phrase "virtue signaling".  Sounds like something Alex Jones came up with. 

 
 
 
Kavika
3.1.7  Kavika   replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @3.1.5    2 weeks ago

My house is cement block with rebar...The wood used is pine which is not endangered wood and is grown specifically to be harvested. 

And I have no animal fur in this house...You do. 

BTW my fishing buddies are catch and release.

Thanks for the link but I've already seen it and dozens more on the subject. 

From your link.

The koala is in trouble. This isn't a way to downplay the current crisis:  Australia's extinction rate is the highest in the world , and local koala populations are being erased.

The experts can parse words but they all agree on the above comment. 

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
3.1.8  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  Kavika @3.1.7    2 weeks ago

Newsflash  you aren't the only human on planet earth that lives without a carbon footprint.

Kavika like all humans has a negative impact on the surrounding environment too.

Sell that crap somewhere where people buy it.

 
 
 
Kavika
3.1.9  Kavika   replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @3.1.8    2 weeks ago

I don't have to sell anything. It seems you're the one trying to sell smoke and mirrors. 

Sorry that you're triggered but please, carry on.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
3.1.10  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @3.1.9    2 weeks ago

OK Guys, (that's both of you in no specific order), enough with the personal comments. Comment about the article or not at all. Only warning.

 
 
 
Kavika
4  Kavika     3 weeks ago

This is really a sad situation. First off the failure to pass the Koala Protection Act is right on the heads of the politicians. 

My kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids have been fighting to get the law passed and are always bringing to anyone who'll listen the plight of the Koalas. (they are Australian citizens)

The Koala is the unofficial symbol of Australia and it is recognized worldwide. 

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
4.1  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  Kavika @4    3 weeks ago

In all fairness the platypus and wombat are way cooler

They deserve protection too.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Kavika @4    2 weeks ago
First off the failure to pass the Koala Protection Act is right on the heads of the politicians. 

What is the objection to protecting the koalas? I imagine money must be involved in there somewhere. 

 
 
 
Kavika
4.2.1  Kavika   replied to  JohnRussell @4.2    2 weeks ago
What is the objection to protecting the koalas? I imagine money must be involved in there somewhere. 

The big stumbling block is Australia industry who has fought against becoming law. Always follow the money. Not much different in Australia than in the US.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
4.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @4    2 weeks ago

When I think of Australia, the Kangaroo enters my mind.

 
 
 
Kavika
4.3.1  Kavika   replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4.3    2 weeks ago

The kangaroo is the official animal of Australia and the Emu is the official bird.

 
 
 
shona1
4.3.2  shona1  replied to  Kavika @4.3.1    2 weeks ago

A/noon Kavika...And we have got plenty of them around here to. Actually I think we are the only country that actually eats its Coat of Arms..not tried either and don't plan to...

 
 
 
Kavika
4.3.3  Kavika   replied to  shona1 @4.3.2    2 weeks ago
Actually I think we are the only country that actually eats its Coat of Arms..not tried either and don't plan to...

LOL, can't argue that Shona...I've had roo a number of times, it tastes like chicken...jrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
shona1
4.3.4  shona1  replied to  Kavika @4.3.3    2 weeks ago

Hmm everything tastes like chook here, including croc and snake...pass on them to...

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
4.3.5  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @4.3.3    2 weeks ago

I once had Ostrich steak here in China - and It DOES taste like chicken.  Actually it was pretty good.

 
 
 
JBB
4.3.6  JBB  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4.3.5    2 weeks ago

Ostrich and Emu breeding was basically a 1990s midwestern small farmer pyramid scheme perpetrated upon thousands of fools who believed in another get rich quick scheme. It ended in an ostrich apocalypse. An emu armageddon. It turned out that ostriches and emus were a hella lot more expensive to feed and to care for than chickens and turkeys. Also, they are huge and mean as hell...

They were never able to develop a mass market for the meat especially at a huge premium over poultry and pork. Emu Oil is basically Snake Oil. There is a market for skins though...

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
4.3.7  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  JBB @4.3.6    2 weeks ago

Kobe steak is extremely expensive, yet there is still a market for it.  

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
5  Paula Bartholomew    2 weeks ago

There needs to be an immediate breeding/repopulation program somewhere to increase the dwindling numbers.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
5.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @5    2 weeks ago

But keep in mind that without Eucalyptus leaves they will starve to death.  There is so much bamboo in China that at least the Panda bears will not starve.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
5.1.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @5.1    2 weeks ago

We have lots of them here.  We could supply a lot of food for these beautiful animals.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
5.1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @5.1.1    2 weeks ago

I would hope that nations around the world would do just that.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
5.1.3  1stwarrior  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @5.1.1    2 weeks ago

You must be in Cali - when I was stationed out there, we would conduct controlled burns and, man, those damn eucalyptus trees would put out some rancid black smoke.

 
 
 
charger 383
6  charger 383    2 weeks ago

Koala Bear population needs to be increased and human overpopulation needs to be recognized as the big problem it is

 
 
 
bbl-1
6.1  bbl-1  replied to  charger 383 @6    2 weeks ago

The best and most honest comment of 2019.

 
 
 
charger 383
6.1.1  charger 383  replied to  bbl-1 @6.1    2 weeks ago

Thank You

 
 
 
Kathleen
7  Kathleen    2 weeks ago

They are so adorable.  

 
 
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