Koalas to be listed as threatened amid rapid decline
KOALAS are expected to be listed as a threatened species across parts of Australia from Monday, and some environment groups claim the government has excluded the marsupial from protection in certain areas due to mining interests.
Research conducted near Gunnedah, which is promoted as the ''koala capital of the world'', show numbers for the animal there have declined by 75 per cent since 1993, yet koalas in the area are not expected to be granted extra protection.
The national icon is dwindling because of the combined pressures of development in its habitat, drought, climate change and from the disease chlamydia.
The Australian Koala Foundation, an advocacy group, told its members yesterday that the areas where koalas would be not be offered extra environmental protection were ''because of coal and coal seam gas interests''.