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Australian leaders warned: act now to save koalas

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Australian leaders warned: act now to save koalas

Australian leaders warned: act now to save koalas

The President of WWF International has warned Australian leaders that the nation's iconic marsupial, the koala, is at risk of extinction due to high rates of deforestation.

Gracie Jerome reports.


Australian leaders warned: act now to save koalas

Australian leaders are being warned: take action against deforestation or risk their koalas going extinct.

The World Wildlife Fund says numbers of the iconic Australian marsupial are plummeting because its habitat is being destroyed at record levels for farming and development It says New South Wales is being hit hardest.

Most koalas are found there or in Queensland, but a recent WWF report warned there'll be no koalas left there by 2050 if land clearing continues at this rate (SOUNDBITE) (English) WWF INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT PAVAN SUKHDEV SAYING: "It is getting extremely threatened and it is listed as vulnerable and we don't know what will happen, unless policies change, unless governments introduce new rules and regulations and support for farmers who want to preserve forest plots on their property." The WWF calls Australia a "global deforestation front," meaning a place where 80 percent of global deforestation is projected to occur by 2030.

It's one of only 11 regions with that label across the world.

The loss of trees in Australia means koalas don't just lose their homes and food, but moving around more makes them more prone to risks like disease, predators, or manmade obstacles like roads.

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