Koalas are in danger of becoming “functionally extinct” animals — what does that mean?

Royal woodpeckers, black Rhino, sea-cow — it’s not the whole list of animals exterminated by humans. Unfortunately, due to deforestation and hunting, this list continues to grow, and after a few decades it can get even a harmless Koala. Recently, the Australian Foundation for the protection of these animals has announced that throughout Australia there are only 80,000 koalas. This is critical, because of which they are now could be considered “functionally extinct” animals.

The number of koalas in different parts of the world is greatly reduced — it is a fact. The reasons for the reduction of their population are numerous, and chief among them are cutting down eucalyptus forests, disease, and climate change. These animals are very hard to detect, so the experts still can’t call their number in different Australian States. If you do not take action to protect them, their population could fall below a critical level and they will not be able to produce new offspring.

What does “functionally extinct”?

This term describes several dangerous situations. First, it means that due to the reduction in population of the animal has ceased to play a significant role in the ecosystem. Once this situation has happened to Australian dogs Dingo — in some regions they became so small that they have no effect on the environment even as predators. What kind of impact you can say in the case of a harmless Koala? Their numerical quantity in this case is very important.

Secondly, due to the reduction of its numerical quantity koalas can stop multiplying. Some populations living near cities that are already suffering from inbreeding — crossing within closely related species. It certainly leads to a decrease in genetic variability, which greatly threatens the vitality of animals.

Thirdly, the number of Koala bears is steadily declining due to deforestation. It was also noted that in areas of Queensland and New South Wales koalas are particularly exposed to extreme climatic events such as droughts — as a result their population has dropped by a frightening 80%.

How many koalas left in the world?

To accurately answer this question is impossible, because these animals live in a variety of places, ranging from urban areas and ending sounds of small villages. However, in 2016 the group of 15 experts identified trends in the population of koalas in four States of Australia. According to their calculations, their total number amounted to 329 000 individuals and over the last three generations, their population has declined by 24%.

Despite the fact that the vulnerability of koalas was identified in 2012, particularly effective measures to protect them has not been undertaken. The main reason for their extinction is still deforestation, and if they are not recovered and not to expand, a frightening trend will continue.

Mankind has destroyed many species of animals, but scientists are trying to revive them. There are people who are categorically against it — the reasons of this attitude can be found in our material.