Koala numbers are believed to have been in the millions before the arrival of
British settlers but are now estimated to vary from about 200,000 to as few
as 43,515. Widespread hunting and slaughter of the animals for their furs in
the early twentieth-century devastated the species.
A leading koala scientist, Professor Alistair Melzer, from the University of
Central Queensland, said the listing was “a big step forward” but
further measures were needed to prevent deaths from cars and dog attacks in
“The listing alone will not save the koala,” he told Fairfax media.
“It’s basically a label that says we’ve got to a point where koalas are
in serious trouble and need careful management if they’re going to survive.”