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Koalas are feeling the heat, and we need to make some tough choices to save our furry friends

Jonathan Rhodes and colleagues write in The Conversation (6.7.16) about the decline in koala populations due to expanding urban development and climate change effects, outlining the challenges that conservationists and governments face in arresting the rate of decline.

‘Koalas are a much-loved Australian icon and a tourism money-spinner too, contributing more than A$1 billion each year to Australia’s economy.

‘Worryingly, however, there is growing evidence that koala populations are declining rapidly in many parts of Australia. They are thought to be declining in all but one bioregion (a way of classifying ecosystems) in Queensland and New South Wales.

‘They also face the growing threat of climate change. Recent modelling found that koala habitat could be considerably reduced as the world warms, particularly due to heatwaves and rainfall.

‘These declines are deeply concerning and failure to reverse them can result in only one outcome: the loss of koalas from many parts of the Australian landscape. But conserving koalas is a complex job.’

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