Australia has been experiencing the worst-ever record-breaking drought and bushfires, which have become one of the major reasons the population of Koalas has dropped by destroying 80% of their habitat, which have led to experts saying that the Koalas are “functionally extinct” from the planet now.
Deborah Tabart, chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, estimates that over 1,000 koalas have been killed from the bushfires and that 80 percent of their habitat has been destroyed. Not only bushfires are the reason behind this statement by experts it also includes prolonged drought and large scale deforestation.
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.
The Australian Koala Foundation says there are less than 80,000 koalas left in the wild which sounds a big number but the foundation says that these koalas are unlikely to produce a new generation.
The Eucalyptus tree is their main source of nutrients that have been destroyed in the fires, the trees will grow back in few months, leaving no suitable food source for koalas and starvation a likely scenario for many.
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital set up a Go Fund Me page requesting for donations to help the hospital treat injured koalas. To date, they have raised $1.47 million, well over their $25,000 goal coming from over 33,000 donors.