Koalas 'functionally extinct' after bushfires destroy 80 percent of habitat
The population of koalas is no longer viable.
Koalas have been declared "functionally extinct" after bushfires destroyed 80 percent of their habitat.
Experts have said that Australia's current bushfires and severe drought have been detrimental to the country's koala population, much of which has had to be rescued from the wild.
Chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, Deborah Tabart, has said that over 1,000 koalas have been killed as a result of the fires.
She estimates that 80 percent of their habitat has also been destroyed.
Forbes reports that "functional extinction" occurs when an animal population becomes so limited that they can no longer play a significant role in their ecosystem.
It is therefore possible that the koala population will become so limited that they will struggle to reproduce or remain viable.
A koala's main source of sustenance comes from the eucalyptus tree, a considerable proportion of which have been destroyed by the bushfires.
It is estimated that it will takes months for these trees to grow back, leaving koalas hungry, thirsty, and malnourished.
Many koalas have had to be rescued from fires and are currently receiving care for burns.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital recently set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the care of rescued koalas.
They have already raised over $1,00,000 and have plans to establish a koala wildlife breeding programme to save the species.
You can donate to the Australian Koala Foundation, or adopt a koala, here.