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Koalas are Next - Başak Bozoğlu


Other new species have been added to the long list of endangered animals, such as rhinos, sea turtles, polar bears, penguins, Sumatran tiger, Borneo elephant, gorilla, koalas. Rapidly declining habitats and climate change threaten the extinction of koalas living in Australia. Last week Australian government announced that the koalas living in Australia were classified as "vulnerable species" in 2012 and were included in the endangered species category in 2022 by being taken to the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


The decline of koala species is not only due to climate change and habitat problems. It was announced that a total of 60 thousand koalas died and were seriously injured in the forest fires of Australia, which occurred in 2019, which is remembered as 'Black Summer' all over the world. It was learned that an estimated 143 million mammals, 180 million birds, 51 million frogs, and 2.5 billion reptiles were affected by the fires on the continent. At that time, the fires in the country could not be brought under control for days and had negative effects on the natural habitat and living species. The Australian Koala Foundation, an independent non-profit group, has announced that the koala population in Australia has decreased by up to 41 percent, bringing the total koala population down to less than 58,000. The koala population is known to be around 80,000 in 2018. This decline in a species in a four-year period is quite traumatic and frightening for the continuation of the species. The foundation stated that if necessary precautions are not taken, the koala species will disappear completely in the wild by 2050.


The Australian government has announced that a recovery plan will be made for the colas, and plans will be made to prevent threats to the koalas from extinction. However, even before the fire, koalas had difficulty in finding the eucalyptus plant, which is their basic diet due to climate change due to the lack of precipitation. For the last ten years, not only koalas but national environmental laws have defined a plan to protect the species and protect their natural habitats, but until now, the Australian government has not implemented any plan for this situation. Currently, the Australian government, which is known as the center of koalas all over the world and owes some of its tourist visits to it, stated that they had initiated about 200 recovery plans for threatened species and habitats.


In the fire in 2020, it was announced that Australia lost its biodiversity at a traumatic level and had one of the highest extinction rates in the world. One of the biggest controversies was that after such a major disaster, the existing laws were not suitable for environmental regulations to protect species and living things. Of course, I am aware of what this issue means to many people from the koalas in Australia right now. However, trying to increase energy efficiency and creating projects on sustainability is unfortunately not a functional and long-lasting future plan if it means the natural order is being destroyed step by step. The extinction of a species goes on from disruption in the natural life chain to disruption of natural events, human cultivation of natural events, from production difficulties to economic problems and social corruption. As most people know, Australia is a country that has experienced a fire disaster in the transition to summer and takes precautions accordingly. However, the deterioration of the ecosystem in the world and the change in temperatures together with the global climate change caused fires above the expected, causing a fire that could not be stopped for days or months. The chain should never be handled alone. Everything in nature, from human beings to koalas, is a whole, and the extinction of species is the source of a much bigger problem, contrary to popular belief that a cute living species will no longer exist.


The first move in Australia was to donate $50 million for koalas. Stuart Blanch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said that koalas could not be protected from extinction unless there were strong laws and incentives for landowners. Money, of course, has a very important place in the pursuit of living species, the provision of food, and the protection of the region. However, unless financial support, funds, and investments are made in projects that can be taken against climate change, the result can only return to the activity of giving money to endangered animals. In this case, both governments and people need to start seeing global climate problems, big or small, as soon as possible and contribute to all the change they can. The biggest change starts with awareness-raising. It is necessary to convey to people as much as possible that the subject is not just losing one or two animal species but also losing their natural life. Otherwise, we may be left with nothing but a barren world, saying koalas today and birds tomorrow.