One of the most iconic animals in Australia – the koala – is one step closer to extinction.
The Australian Government has listed koalas as an endangered species in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
Following severe population declines, made worse by the 2019-2020 bushfires, conservation and animal welfare groups including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Humane Society International (HSI) and WWF-Australia nominated the government to “uplist” to the koala status, in a bid to increase legal protections for the national icon.
IFAW Wildlife Campaign Manager Josey Sharrad said that while koalas would gain elevated protections, the decision was a double-edged sword.
“This must be a wake-up call to Australia and the government to move much faster to protect critical habitat from development and land-clearing and seriously address the impacts of climate change,” she said.AW Wildlife Campaign Manager Josey Sharrad
Recent research by the Australian Conservation Foundation revealed more than 25,000 hectares of koala habitats have been approved for clearing since the species was listed vulnerable to extinction in 2012. That’s 12,500 times the size of the MCG!
While we hope this Endangered status will provide koalas and their forest homes with greater protection under national law, there is more that can be done.
How we’re helping protect our furry friends
Protecting koalas and their habitats has been at the forefront of our mission since the beginning. When you buy a Koala mattress, you don’t just get a cute koala toy in the box, a portion of each sale goes directly to helping our favourite sleepy mates.
“At Koala we believe in reversing environmental trends and leaving the Earth in better condition than we found it. That’s why we partner with organisations like WWF, supporting their work to build better habitats and innovating together to help protect biodiversity,” says Koala Co-Founder and CEO Mitchell Taylor.Koala Co-Founder and CEO Mitchell Taylor
Through our partnership with WWF-Australia we’ve donated over $2 million to help koalas, green sea turtles and the glossy black cockatoo. So where does the money go?
The funds go directly to supporting programs like Koalas Forever, WWF-Australia’s broad koala and wildlife recovery and protection program, which aims to double the number of koalas in eastern Australia by 2050.
In 2021, Koala customers helped WWF-Australia plant 46,000 koala feed trees, restore 40 hectares of koala habitat and upskill 70 wildlife vets.
Ipswich Koala Protect Society
Donations from Koala also helped the operation of wildlife care facilities, including the Ipswich Koala Protection Society (IKPS). For over 25 years, IKPS has provided a 24/7 ambulance service and dedicated Koala Rescue & Rehabilitation Clinic for sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife.
IKPS rescues hand raises and rehabilitates orphaned koalas and other native wildlife for release to the wild. Each year they rescue more than 180 koalas.
With Koala’s ongoing support, funds have been provided to IKPS to:
- maintain and operate the ambulance,
- purchase a mulcher to dispose of used eucalyptus leaves,
- invest in new equipment to help identify injured koalas and care for them during their recovery.
Towards Two Billion Trees
We’re also helping to restore forests in eastern Australia. Koala was the first to partner with WWF-Australia on its long-term landscape restoration program, Towards Two Billion Trees. The program aims to grow and save two billion trees in Australia by 2030. Together, we are creating homes for koalas and helping to conserve biodiversity across Australia.
We’re also supporting Bangalow Koalas to create a koala wildlife corridor in the Northern Rivers of NSW. The aim is to plant 500,000 trees by the end of 2025.
If you would like to help further, you can also donate to WWF-Australia directly.
Want to learn more about Koala’s sustainability efforts? Keep reading!