Australia Considering Killing Off Koalas And Kangaroos As Population Grows Too High

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They’re among the cutest, most beloved animals on the planet, instantly recognisable as emblems of Australia’s diverse and fascinating wildlife.

However, a new parliamentary inquiry report has recommended South Australia’s environment minister, David Speirs MP, class iconic Aussie critters koalas and kangaroos as overabundant in certain areas.

The Natural Resources Committee (NRC) have claimed koalas, western grey kangaroos, little corellas and long-nosed fur seals are reaching unmanageable levels in South Australia, resulting in a ‘deleterious impact’ on the surrounding environment.

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For this inquiry, South Australian parliament’s natural resources committee looked into the impact and management of various ‘overabundant’ animals, examining whether or not current measures were effectively keeping populations under control.

Following the inquiry, the NRC has suggested culling as an option, and have noted how attempts to sterilise the Kangaroo Island koala population had proven unsuccessful.

Presiding NRC member, Australian politician Josh Teague, has said these animals pose an ‘imminent threat’ to wildlife and habitats in South Australia.

Mr Teague, a Liberal member of the South Australian House of Assembly, stated:

The overabundance of several species was caused by changes to the landscape, including by the clearing of native vegetation,

Further, the committee heard that unless we act to manage the problem by culling abundant animals, there will not be a lot of other biodiversity in the state.

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As reported by Adelaide Now, the NRC said they were ‘acutely concerned’ about the situation:

Without lethal management the numbers of koalas on the island will continue to increase to the point where irreparable damage occurs and the board believes that, on balance, the positives of culling koalas outweighs the negatives.

The inquiry also noted how, ‘some community stakeholders find the concept of culling an abhorrent approach in managing overabundant species’.

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As reported by news.com.au, it is currently illegal to kill koalas, in accordance with both the National Koala Conservation and Management Strategy 2009—2014 and the SA Koala Conservation and Management Strategy 2016.

There have previously been plans for a koala cull on kangaroo island. However, this idea was scrapped after members of the community expressed outrage.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), koalas are listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBCA), with The Australia Koala Foundation estimating there are fewer than 80,000 koalas left in the wild.

Koala populations on Australia’s east coast have declined for a variety of reasons, including deforestation, diseases such as chlamydia, feral animal attacks and fire and vehicle collisions.

These adorable creatures are also particularly impacted by climate change, with the trees they rely upon for their very way of life being affected by changes in temperature and rainfall.

However, the situation in South Australia and Victoria is quite different to other parts of Australia, with representatives from WWF Australia making the following comments to UNILAD:

The koalas they talk about are in kangaroo island. The story explains koalas are not native to kangaroo island & they are inbred.

The koalas in South Australia & Victoria were repopulated from a few individuals & are inbred except for a few remnant populations. The SA and Vic populations have dangerously low genetic diversity.

The genetic diversity resides in Queensland and New South Wales and those populations are declining rapidly.

The committee heard more community education was needed about the issue of culling overabundant species.

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