Koalas have become "functionally extinct" in their native habitat, the Australian Koala Foundation's chairman, Deborah Tabart, announced.
“There are no more than 80,000 koalas in the country and, while this might seem like a lot, there are not enough breeding adults to support the next generation,” Tabart said.
"Functionally extinct" refers to the scientific term of a species being "beyond the point of recovery".
Tabart explained that the number was a fraction of the eight million koalas killed for fur and sent to London between 1890 and 1927.
"I have heard every excuse under the sun to not step in and protect habitats. No one has written anything [any laws] to protect the koala in the last six years of government,”
“The plight of the koala now falls on his shoulders,” she said, urging Australia's prime minister, Scott Morrison, to take action.
"The Bald Eagle Act was successful because there was political motive to ensure their icon did not go extinct. It is time for the koala to be afforded the same respect,” she stated.
"The prime minister who takes the reins in the coming weeks will have to really start to understand that Mother Nature has seemed to have enough. Fire, flood or drought, deforestation, hotter climate and other huge impacts on our environment need to be halted,” she recommended.
"The koala forests of Australia are 20% of our continent - they could help with cooling our planet and making our lives more sustainable,” she stressed.