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They are in danger of going the way of the dodo.
Koala bears have declared “functionally extinct,” the Australian Koala Foundation reports. The soft marsupial is as 80,000 wild species members, which means that there are not enough breeding adults left to support another generation of the pouched mammals.
The tree-dwelling species are plagued by the effects of rising temperatures and heat waves, which caused widespread deforestation and fatal dehydration in koalas, according to the AKF. Only 41 of the koalas 128 known habitats in the federal environments of the animals left.
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If a new disease or genetic infectious agent of any kind is introduced, surviving koalas will die off quickly. Activists beg local wrist.
“I know the Australian public are worried for the safety of the koalas and are tired of seeing dead koalas on our roads,” said AKF president Deborah Tabart. “I call on the new minister-president after the elections is the establishment of the Koala Protection Act (KPA) written and ready to go, because 2016.”
There is hope: The Koala Protection Act is based on the US the Bald Eagle Act, which was successful in the rescue of America’s national symbol from the list of endangered species.
“The Bald Eagle Act was successful, because there was a political motive to ensure that their icon is not extinct,” says Tabart. “It is time for the koala to be given the same respect.”
Click here for more of The New York Post, where this story was first published.