Australian Koalas Receive Death Sentence
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Australian Koalas Receive Death Sentence

30 April 2004

by Anai Rhoads

(To enlarge the photo of the koala, click on the photo or link.) - Koalas have always been a profitable tourist attraction in Southern Australia, but recently some have declared all out war on the docile marsupials.

Due to a steady rise in the koala population, officials are seeking to cull at least 20,000 of them. The overpopulation of the marsupials has significantly weakened Kangaroo Island's ecosystem, leaving the majority of the animals starving to death.

An individual koala eats roughly 200 to 500 grams of Eucalyptus leaves on a daily basis. Due to the food demand and numbers of koalas, the island is nearly cleared of its native gum trees. The koalas will slowly starve to death without government intervention.

"While they may be cute and cuddly we need to get beyond emotion to reality, my suggestion is professional shooters do it quickly and cleanly," Sandra Kanck from the Australian Democrat Party told Reuters on Friday.

However, the South Australian state government disagrees with this action and is requesting the koalas be sterilised and relocated appropriately until the population has lowered.

In 1996, the government called for a cull of 2,000 koalas when the population only hovered around 5,000. The public outcry prevented the cull from being carried through.

This controversial measure is expected to affect tourism and the country's reputation overall.

Support the Australian Koala Foundation's efforts to save the koalas:

Australian Koala Foundation G.P.O. Box 2659 1/40 Charlotte Street BRISBANE QLD 4000 Toll Free: 1 800 4 KOALA (Within Australia Only) PH: 61-7-32297233, FAX: 61-7-32210337  

Friends of the AKF The Nolan Lehr Group, Inc. 224 West 29th Street, 15th Floor New York NY 10001 1-212-9678200, FAX: 1-212-9677292

Friends of the AKF ATC International 2201 Distribution Circle Silver Spring, MD 20910-1260 USA FAX: 1-301-562-6972 Phone toll free: 1-800-MYKOALA

2004 Reproduction must be authorised in writing only, and altering the material and this copyright is prohibited and protected by international law.

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