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Last updated at 16:02 GMT, Thursday, 23 February 2012

Calls to protect Australia's koalas


23 February 2012

The Australian government has been urged to add the Koala to its list of nationally threatened species. Conservationists worry that the animal is heading towards extinction because of disease, climate change and a loss of habitat.

Phil Mercer


Conservationists estimate there are about 100,000 koalas in the wild


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The number of koalas in Australia is unclear but conservationists estimate there are about 100,000 in the wild. They believe that the population is continuing to fall because of various threats, including a disease that causes blindness and infertility. The building of homes and roads is also eating away at their habitat.

The Australian government is being urged to declare the koala a threatened or endangered animal. This would give federal authorities the power to protect these furry marsupials from development.

The Environment Minister Tony Burke has asked a panel of experts for more information detailing areas where koala populations are in trouble. He is expected to make a final decision in the next couple of months.


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people who take an active part in the protection of the environment


roughly calculate


things that could have a negative impact


not being able to produce babies

eating away at

steadily removing


at risk of dying out


covered with fur


group of specialists

in trouble

facing difficulty

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