Under Queensland’s Nature Conservation Act 1992 koalas are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ (to extinction). In Victoria and South Australia the koala is simply a protected species and only offered minimal to no protection. Nationally, the Commonwealth Government listed the koala in Queensland, NSW and ACT as ‘vulnerable with threat of extinction’ in 2012. Aggressive clearing of all native bush land including eucalypt forests continues. The remaining eucalypt’s nutritional value has been tarnished by increased CO2 in the atmosphere leading to the IUCN listing the koala as one of the 10 most vulnerable species in the world to climate change.
It is thought that from an original population of millions at white settlement, only 50- 80,000 koalas remain in the wild. Numbers have dropped by approximately 80% in the past 10 years.
Interesting (and sad) fact: Numbers dropped dramatically during the early 1900s when 4 million koalas were hunted for their fur. Legislation stopped this in 1931.
Here’s a quote from the time by famous naturalist Ellis Troughton (1893-1974)
“A fellow feeling should make all Australians wondrous kind to the solemn little koalas, which should be granted perpetual free use of the trees as a national emblem, rather than butchered to make economic holidays.”
One might say nothing much has changed.