Australia Could this be the end of koalas? Expert claims Australia's beloved marsupial is 'functionally extinct' after bushfires destroyed 80 per cent of their natural habitat and killed thousands
Koala rescued from fires may not survive
A koala filmed crawling through the devastating NSW bushfires may not survive his injuries.Lewis was rescued yesterday by a woman who was passing through Long Flat and saw him trying to make his way through the flames.
It may be too late to save the beloved koala after bushfires wiped out their natural habitat and killed thousands of their population, an expert claims.
Deborah Tabart OAM, chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, estimated over 1000 koalas may have been killed in the last two months from deforestation and bushfires.
She said this left the marsupials 'functionally extinct'.
The bushfires that continue to devastate NSW and Queensland have also destroyed 80 per cent of the koala's natural habitat.
Ley calls on koala experts post bushfires
Koala experts will meet in Brisbane this week to discuss how to help the native animal, which has been devastated by recent bushfires in NSW and Queensland. Koala experts will meet in Brisbane to map out a way to help the native animal, which has been devastated by bushfires in Queensland and NSW. Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the experts - who are meeting on Thursday - will have $3 million to spend on restoring koala habitats.
'Functionally extinct' refers to a species whose population has declined to the point where it can no longer play a significant role in their ecosystem.
'If we combine all of the estimated deaths of koalas in the bushfires, there could be 1000 koalas that have been killed in the last two months,' Ms Tabart told Daily Mail Australia.
'We know there are 31 koalas that have been killed in Port Macquarie, but I think that is not a high enough number.'
Koala hospital's GoFundMe campaign raises more than $1m in wake of bushfire devastation
An online fundraising appeal set up by a New South Wales koala hospital to rescue and rehabilitate marsupials devastated by bushfires raises more than $1 million, in what is believed to be one of the most successful GoFundMe campaigns in Australia.Port Macquarie Koala Hospital's had by Thursday night raised $1,078,000 on GoFundMe, eclipsing the initial stated target of $25,000.
She estimated at least 350 koalas may have been killed in the Port Macquarie bushfires alone.
Places such as Crows Nest and Lake Toowoomba have also had significant fires and though no death toll has been confirmed.
Ms Tabart believes many koalas may have died there as well.
'We think there are 18000 koalas in NSW alone, so the bushfires have had a massive impact on their population.'
Sadly, even if koalas survive the bush fires, they are still at risk.
'Because of deforestation and now the bushfires, there is so little habitat left and trees with eucalyptus take months to grow back,' Ms Tabart said.
Koalas are not functionally extinct, but they need our help
Reports abound Australia's bushfires have pushed the cuddly, grey marsupial to the brink but scientists have raised questions.The bushfires wreaked havoc across Australia, destroying hundreds of thousands of hectares of bushland. It's estimated up to 1,000 koalas may have died, including half the population living in Port Macquarie. A tragedy, for a species already struggling to survive against the effects of climate change , disease and deforestation.
There may not be significant rain in 25 years, especially in the western parts of NSW, so their habitat will struggle to recover.
Ms Tabart urged the government to take action to protect koalas and has called on the Prime Minister to enact the Koala Protection act, which was written in 2016.
'They are equivalent to the Great Barrier Reef. Everyone wants to touch a koala, so you would think the government would want to do something to save them,' she said.
'The plight of the Koala now falls on the Prime Minister's shoulders.'
In the wake of the bushfires, koala hospital has raised more than $1million to help injured animals.
The campaign launched by Port Macquarie Koala Hospital aimed to raise money to buy automatic drinking stations for animals living in areas devastated by fires.
Koala population at 'tipping point' after Australian bushfire crisis, donations soar amid outpouring of overseas support
Wildlife organisations say up to 1,000 koalas have been killed in the bushfire crisis with one group describing the scene as "Ground Zero" as hospitals struggle to keep up with the influx of injured animals. "The one at Australia Zoo, the one at Currumbin, they don't even have the right equipment or enough equipment to be able to cope with this."Some hospitals are prioritising cases, they're not able to treat how they normally would, they're being very resourceful with how to save these animals," she said.She would also like to see more funding towards wildlife hospitals and conservation efforts from the Government.
The initial fundraising goal was $25,000, but $1.146million has now been raised from more than 25,500 donations.
Donations started to pour in after Toni Doherty was recorded running into an out-of-control bushfire in the New South Wales town of Long Flat to save an injured koala, named Ellenborough Lewis.
Footage showed the koala, who had patches of fur missing, running close to the fires before Mrs Doherty poured bottles of water onto him and wrapped him up in a blanket.
'It was vulnerable, all I could think to do was to try and rescue him,' she told Channel Nine's Today.
'We just jumped out and I knew I needed to put something around him as I ran to the tree so I just took off my shirt and covered him with it and tried to get him out of the fire.'
Mrs Doherty said she could feel the heat radiating off Lewis as he screamed in pain.
As of Thursday, more than 50 fires are burning in NSW with total fire bans in several regions including the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.
Koalas Aren’t Extinct, but Their Future Is in Danger, Experts Say
There is no doubt that the fires tearing across eastern Australia have been hurting koalas. There is no doubt that the fires tearing across eastern Australia have been hurting koalas.
About 70 fires are burning across Queensland with no end in sight to the crisis.
Meanwhile, Victoria has a total fire ban in place across the state and has declared Code Red conditions.
Anyone who finds an injured animal is urged to seek immediate action and take them to a vet.
At Microsoft News Australia we've partnered with the giving platform Benevity tofor Australian Red Cross, St Vincent De Paul Society and The Salvation Army; these organisations are helping communities across the country devastated by bushfires. You can help these organisations by and for the latest news and RFS links visit
Koala hospital's appeal for drinking station funds amid deadly bushfires makes Australian GoFundMe history .
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is overwhelmed with the success of a funding plea raising almost 73 times its goal, the most successful Australian campaign in history.The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is overwhelmed with the success of a GoFundMe campaign that has now raised almost 73 times its initial goal — becoming the largest campaign in Australia in the process.