They’re cuddly creatures that turn celebrities, politicians and dignitaries into adoring fans but in Queensland koalas are running out of places to live.
Decimated by savage bushfires and extensive land clearing to make way for housing developments, the world-famous marsupial is disappearing.
Now the state government is planning to declare an area twice the size of the Australian Capital Territory as a priority koala zone.
“”The bushfires have had a devastating impact on our wildlife,” Premier Annastacia Palaszcuzk said on Sunday.
“We’ve seen many injured koalas that have come in to all different areas of the southeast.
“Many have been on the road to recovery but of course we’ve also lost a lot as well.”
A draft strategy issued by the state government has identified more than 570,000 hectares of land where it will limit land clearing to protect koala populations.
About 300,000 hectares is already koala habitat.
Destruction of habitat through land clearing to make way for housing and other infrastructure projects is one of the main reasons koala populations are declining.
The state government has allocated $2 million for koala habitat restoration in priority areas through partnerships with landholders and local governments.
People will have until January 31 to have their say on the draft strategy.