Koalas are dramatically declining in Queensland: WWF Australia

Map (left): High-density koala habitat at the time of European settlement | Map (right): What remained in 2015.

WWF-Australia has produced a map based on Queensland Government habitat mapping, that shows the dramatic destruction and breakup of koala habitat in Queensland from historic and ongoing tree clearing.

Before Europeans arrived in the 1800s, a vast unbroken koala forest stretched for hundreds of kilometres from Gympie down into New South Wales.

Now, most of that forest has been cleared and what remains is highly broken up or fragmented by paddocks, crops, roads, powerlines and suburbs.

As a result, the once thriving Koala Coast population in Queensland has declined by an estimated 80 per cent between 1996 and 2014, according to a recent Government report.

A scientific review released today by the Queensland Government highlights that tree clearing is a severe threat for the koala and many others of Queensland’s 949 threatened species.

The scientists also confirm recent WWF analysis in the 2016 Building Nature’s Safety Net Report that the state system of national parks and protected areas is too small at present to prevent further extinctions.

“We are seeing runaway bulldozing of bushland after the former Queensland government removed protections,” WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Martin Taylor said.

“We must bring back strong forest safeguards to prevent the extinction of the koala and many other threatened Australian animals like gliders, woodland birds, wombats and wallabies,” he said.