Bushfires, trees chopped down, chlamydia… and now incest: The new threat to Australia’s dwindling koala population
- Recent bushfires in QLD and NSW have destroyed the koala’s natural habitat
- Dog attacks, car strikes and chlamydia have decimated the koala population
- Koala’s have been pushed into smaller areas where mating options are limited
Incest poses yet another threat to Australia’s already dwindling koala population.
Devastating bushfires and expanding towns mean that koalas no longer have access large tracts of bushland.
Their reduced habitat could result in a number of animals resorting to inbreeding, according to Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation Manager Al Mucci.
‘We don’t have the big, large tracts of bushland areas anymore, and they’re all chopped up by freeways, industrial areas and, basically, people,’ Mr Mucci told the ABC.
Recent bushfires throughout Queensland and New South Wales have destroyed the koala’s natural habitat (pictured: Fire along Putty Road in Sydney)
‘So brother and sister breeding together or mum breeding with son, means that the ability of the offspring of these animals to be as strong as they can be, gets diminished.
‘We need strong koalas in these fragmented communities to survive in the future.’
Dog attacks, cars and chlamydia have already had a negative impact on Australia’s koala population
Following a week of catastrophic bushfires, more than 55 fires continue to burn in NSW and more than 70 in Queensland.
Devastating bushfires and expanding towns mean that koalas no longer have access large tracts of bushland (stock image)
Hundreds of koalas are thought to have died in New South Wales’ mid north coast after out of control bush fires burned through their habitat.
The Lake Innes Nature Reserve south of Port Macquarie was home to 600 koalas before extreme fire conditions swept through the region in the last two weeks.
It has been estimated that 350 koalas are dead as a result of the inferno, with fears that number could grow as fire fighters are still battling fires in the area.
The area was home to a unique colony of genetically diverse koalas, with wildlife rescuers worried for their well being in the dangerous conditions.
Koala Conservation Australia President Sue Ashton told the Sydney Morning Herald she believed most of the animals met a tragic demise in the blaze.
‘We think most of the animals were incinerated,’ Ms Ashton said. ‘It’s like a cremation. They have been burnt to ashes in the trees.’