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The koala is regarded as the epitome of cuddliness. However, animal lovers will be saddened to hear that this lovable marsupial has been moved to the endangered species list. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates there are somewhere between 43,000-100,000 koalas left in the wild. Their numbers have been dwindling rapidly due to disease, loss of habitat, bushfires, being hit by cars, and other threats. Stuart Blanch from the World Wildlife Fund in Australia said: "Koalas have gone from no listing to vulnerable to endangered within a decade. That is a shockingly fast decline." He added that koalas risk "sliding toward extinction" unless there are "stronger laws…to protect their forest homes".

The koala has huge cultural significance for Australia. Wikipedia writes: "The koala is well known worldwide and is a major draw for Australian zoos and wildlife parks. It has been featured in advertisements, games, cartoons, and as soft toys. It benefited the national tourism industry by over an estimated billion Australian dollars in 1998, a figure that has since grown." Despite this, efforts to protect the koala have been failing. Australia's Environment Minister Sussan Ley said there have been "many pressures on the koala," and that it is "vulnerable to climate change and to disease". She said the 2019-2020 bushfires, which killed at least 6,400 of the animals, were "a tipping point".



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