Deforestation is killing koalas in Queensland, Australia. Three million hectares of forest in the eastern part of the country could be bulldozed in the two decades leading up to 2030, according to projections cited by The Guardian — and koalas are suffering for it. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia found that between 2012 and 2016, the bulldozing of trees killed at least 5,183 koalas.

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Australia is experiencing a land-clearing crisis, according to The Guardian — and it’s so devastating WWF International “put it on the list of global deforestation fronts, the only one in the developed world on that list,” WWF Australia protected areas and conservation science manager Martin Taylor told the publication, which said around 395,000 hectares of land in the state of Queensland are cleared a year. And habitat loss is a main danger for around three quarters of the 1,640 animals and plants in Australia the government has listed as threatened.

Koala, marsupial, animal, Brisbane, Australia, tree

Related: Australia’s Koala Listed as Threatened Species Due to Deforestation and Climate Change

80 percent of koalas on Queensland’s Koala Coast have been lost, according to WWF Australia. Tree-clearing is destroying their homes, and in southeast Queensland the animals are on the edge of extinction. WWF Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said populations around Brisbane, the capital of the state, “have collapsed by 50 to 80 percent in less than 20 years.”

Governments failing to introduce new restrictions or apply existing ones are part of the tree-clearing problem, according to The Guardian. And in WWF Australia’s statement on the killing of over 5,000 koalas, O’Gorman said, “WWF’s scientific research shows that since the previous Queensland government weakened safeguards the number of koalas killed by tree-clearing every year has more than doubled to about 1,300.”

Koalas aren’t alone. The Great Barrier Reef is pressured as land-clearing sends pollution into rivers that ultimately flows onto the coral. And deforestation worsens climate change, which affects everyone.

You can send a virtual origami koala to Queensland politicians to tell them you’re concerned about the consequences of rampant deforestation; WWF offers more information here.

+ WWF Australia Save Koalas

+ WWF Australia: Bulldozers kill 5,000 koalas in Qld in four years

Via The Guardian

Images © Briano/WWF-Aus and via Pixabay