Species in News: Koala

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    In News 

    • Recently, the Australian government declared the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)  as ‘Endangered’ in the states of Queensland and New South Wales as well as the Australian Capital Territory.

    About Koala

    • Scientific Name: Phascolarctos cinereus
    • It is an Australian animal, often called the koala bear.
    • Description: 
      • They are marsupials (mammals with a pouch for the development of offspring).
      • Their fur (hair) is more like the coarse wool of a sheep. They have two toes that are fused together on their feet, which they use to comb their fur.
      • They have two opposing thumbs on their hands, and both their feet and hands have rough pads and claws to grab onto branches. 
    • Habitat: Eucalyptus forests of southeastern and eastern Australia.
      • Koalas rely on the eucalyptus tree for both habitat and food.
    • Threats
      • The koala has suffered greatly in recent years due to habitat loss, disease and most of all, bushfires. 
      • Hunting for their fur.
      • Threats of predation and road accidents.
    • IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable.
    • Conservation:
      • Caring and rehabilitating the injured.
      • Building koala sanctuaries and reserves.
      • Saving eucalyptus trees and planting new ones.
      • Researching about koala genetics, mating choices and health.
      • The Koala Conservation Plan by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia.
        • It is the first independent-of-government national strategy to save koalas from extinction.

    (Image Courtesy: Britannica)

    Source: DTE