Australia moved on Monday to protect its most vulnerable koalas, listing the much-loved furry tree-dwellers as a threatened species in parts of the country.
Environment Minister Tony Burke said the most at-risk koalas needed to be on the national list of threatened species, and populations in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory would be listed as vulnerable.
“Koalas are an iconic Australian animal and they hold a special place in the community,” he said.
Burke said while some koala populations were under serious threat from habitat loss and urban expansion, as well as cars, dogs and disease, in other areas they were thriving to the point they needed to be controlled.
“In fact, in some areas in Victoria and South Australia, koalas are eating themselves out of suitable foraging habitat and their numbers need to be managed,” he said.
“But the Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory koala populations are very clearly in trouble, so we must take action.”
An official report issued last year found the sleepy, furry marsupials were under increasing threat and should be considered a vulnerable species, with habitat loss seeing their numbers plunge.
Believed to number in the millions before British settlers arrived in 1788, the hunting and slaughter of the animals for their furs in the 1920s devastated the species in some areas.
Public outrage over the killing of the big-eyed “bears” put an end to the practice but numbers have never fully recovered, with estimates on the population varying from several hundred thousand to as few as 43,515.
Environmentalists have for years been pushing for greater protections for the koala, which sleeps about 20 hours a day and eats only the leaves of the eucalyptus tree.
University of Tasmania zoology professor Chris Johnson said the government’s move was sensible.
“The northern and southern populations are now basically separate,” Johnson said, saying they almost needed be considered as different species.
Democrat moves to impeach Trump immediately following House condemning president’s racism
Immediately following the House of Representatives voting to condemn racist remarks by President Donald Trump, a Democrat introduced a privileged motion to impeach the president.
Rep. Al Green (D-TX) gave an impassioned speech to begin impeachment proceedings for Trump committing high crimes and misdemeanors.
"Therefore, Donald John Trump, by causing such harm to the society of the United States, is unfit to be president and warrants impeachment, trial and removal from office," he said.
Trump ‘reached into the Genesis chapter of the bigot’s bible’ to attack the Squad: journalist
On Tuesday, journalist Jamil Smith wrote a column scorching President Donald Trump's attacks on "The Squad," as an act of utmost bigotry — and narcissism.
"Trump would surely love to run against these four women in 2020 rather than an actual opponent, positioning them all as racial bogeymen," wrote Smith. "It's a royal flush for his racist campaign: two black women, including one who wears a hijab and is a Somali refugee; a boricua from the Bronx; and a first-generation Palestinian-American from Detroit."
House of Representatives votes for resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s racism
President Donald Trump was condemned by the House of Representatives on Tuesday for his racist attacks on young women of color in Congress.
The resolution was passed with the support of every Democrat. The final vote was 240-187.
The text said "Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color."
The resolved that the body "strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America."