Why Are Koalas Endangered?

Nicki Mannix/CC-BY-2.0

Koalas are not listed as endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. However, koalas are suffering lower populations from loss of habitat and predators. Past hunting of koalas for food and the fur trade also led to smaller populations of koalas.

Hunting of the koala has taken place since the Aboriginals of Australia used them as a food resource. Though koalas are not endangered, a population decline has occurred since the 20th century. In the 20th century, European settlers in Australia hunted koalas for their fur. Recently, the primary threat to koalas is land development by humans. Along with land development, a rise in interaction with domesticated dogs and vehicular accidents have caused koala populations to decline. Groups such as the Australian Koala Foundation have been formed to help educate the public on the threats that koalas are facing. Populations of koalas in New South Wales and Queensland are classified as vulnerable, but populations in other areas of Australia still thrive.

Koalas are marsupials, most closely related to the wombat, and are native to Australia. They live in eucalyptus forests and feed on the leaves of the eucalyptus tree.