In February 2022 koala populations in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT were listed as Endangered under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The change in status means an increased level of protection for koalas in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
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.
In Queensland, the greatest concentration of koalas is in South East Queensland where they now compete for space with a rapidly growing human population.
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.