KOALA NUMBERS IN THE WILD

There is much ‘talk’ about the number of koalas currently surviving in the wild throughout Australia. So many ‘experts’ have differing opinions: from less than 40,000 to over 300,000. This site will report the claims made my reputable sources. What is certain is that koala numbers have declined hugely in recent times to an alarmingly low level that extinction in the wild now seems inevitable unless meaningful human action happens. Now,

IUCN RED LIST OF THREATENED SPECIES: KOALA (Phascolarctos cinereus)  listed as  VULNERABLE

300,000 (100000-500000, 300000)  number of mature individuals | population decreasing

“A recent expert-based elicitation process provided an aggregated mean estimate of 330,000 individuals across the Koala’s current range (McAlpine et al. 2012), suggesting the number of mature individuals is c. 300,000” (2012)  [from website 28.4.20) link to article last assessed may 2014 – bush fires and drought have surely taken it’s toll.

AUSTRALIAN KOALA FOUNDATION

43,000 – 100,000

“…estimates that there are less than 100,000 Koalas left in the wild, possibly as few as 43,000….meaningful legislation is the only way to protect koalas. (from website 1.7.17/ not updated as of 28.4.20) link to article

AUSTRALIA ZOO

80,000

Sadly, our Aussie icon is experiencing a rapid population decline.  Millions of koalas once roamed our land, but today, there is estimated to be fewer than 80,000 left in the wild.  They are threatened by habitat destruction, car strikes, dog attacks, disease and drought.  They are considered a vulnerable species and are truly in need of our support.  Let’s keep these true-blue Aussies around for years to come! read info 28.4.20

 

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

?????

A review of the www.environment.org.au website – a lot of talk about koala population but no actual numbers quoted (28.4.20)  click link

WWF Australia (28/4/20)

15,000 to 28,000 in NSW  |  5,000 – 20,000 South East Qld

There is no widely accepted estimate of the total population size for Eastern Australia’s vulnerable koala population. Official information on this is poor, notwithstanding the efforts over decades of an army of passionate people from community, government, Indigenous, research and consulting sectors who
have studied this endearing species. There is a genuine need for better estimates of population sizes and trends. A compilation of the latest survey and estimate data presented here shows there are currently 37 to 38 metapopulations in NSW with a likely total population size of 15-28,000 animals. Southeast Queensland has a likely population size of 5,000 to 20,000 animals. read the article 

The World Wildlife Fund states that more than 480 million animals have been killed in the bushfires since September 2019. The WWF is concerned that the catastrophic fires are worsening the current “extinction crisis”. Its website highlights the Koala Triangle – from Noosa in Queensland to southwest Sydney and Gunnedah in the west of New South Wales – and expresses fears that in this region, the species could be extinct in as little as 30 years. read Coastbeat article (17.1.20)

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

329.000  estimate in 2016

In 2016, experts estimated that there are about 329,000 koalas in Australia, which represents an average of a 24 percent decline in populations over the past three generations. “It’s very difficult to estimate koala populations, even at the best of times,” Adams-Hosking says, because they have a very wide range across eastern Australia, and are human-shy and found very high up in trees. “Some populations are becoming locally extinct and others are doing just fine.”  read article published 25.12.2019

ABC NEWS

As many as 10,000 koalas — a third of New South Wales’ total population — are estimated to have perished this summer from bushfires and drought, an inquiry has heard. 15.2.20 link to article  

News 30.6.20 -“…as few as 11,000 remaining  in NSW and facing extinction  in SW by 2050…”  [result of habitat loss and recent fires of 2019/20].

ABC… BEHIND THE NEWS

less than 40,000

“…since 2012 this iconic Australian marsupial has been listed as a VULNERABLE SPECIES [IUCN Red List of Threatened Species] … today there are less than 40,000 koalas left in the wild…  koalas have declined by 50% in the last 15 -20 years…  habitat loss though logging, climate change, rising sea levels …  (posted 13.6.17) link to article

THE WEEK (magazine)

43,000 – 100,0000

“…Their numbers have dropped by as much as 95 percent since the 1990s. There are as few as 43,000 koalas — and almost certainly no more than 100,000 — left in the wild on the Australian mainland.”   (posted 26.5.2011) Link to article

THE TELEGRAPH (newspaper)

50,000 – 100,000

“Australia’s total koala population has decreased from “millions” early last century to about 50,000 to 100,000, according to conservation groups. The decline was blamed on widespread hunting for the marsupial’s pelt, as well as introduction of diseases and the impact of development on natural habitats.” (posted 4.3.2015) Link to article

DIVERSITY & DISTRIBUTIONS (Journal)

329,000

“Use of expert knowledge to elicit population trends for the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus): On the basis of estimates of mean population sizes for each bioregion and state, we estimated that the total number of koalas for Australia is 329,000 (range 144,000–605,000) with an estimated average decline of 24% over the past three generations and the next three generations. Estimated percentage of loss in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia was 53%, 26%, 14% and 3%, respectively.” (first published 5.1.2016) Link to article

AUSTRALIA ZOO

40,000 – 100,000 (changed to less than 80,000 28.4.20)

“In addition to bushfires, habitat clearing, dog attacks and road accidents, between 2.5 and 3 million koalas were shot to supply the fur trade in America and Europe from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. In contrast to these astounding numbers, the current koala population is believed to be between 40,000 to 100,000 animals. (from website 1.7.17) Link to article

DAILY MAIL (newspaper)

less than 80,000

Some studies suggest there are fewer than 80,000 left, and research near Sydney shows numbers have fallen 75 per cent since 1993. (posted 8.4.2012) Link to article

THE GUARDIAN (newspaper)

329,000 throughout Australia | 36,000 in NSW

“…all koala populations, bar a few in eastern Australia, are in decline. Some sharply so. So whether or not you find, as we do, the most recent estimate of 329,000 in Australia (36,000 koalas in NSW) to be optimistic one thing is clear: koala numbers are a fraction of what they once were and the species is slipping away….The best way to protect koalas is a tried and tested one. The scientists that identified the crisis ecoregion problem also identified the solution: large, well-connected protected areas. Only by protecting and connecting remaining koala habitat can the government enact meaningful conservation. Everything else is tinkering round the edges….” (posted 16.1.2017) Link to article

BBC (UK)

43,000 – 200,000

“The current size of the koala population is unclear, according to the BBC’s Phil Mercer, with estimates varying from several hundred thousand to as few as 43,000. In New South Wales and Queensland, the numbers have fallen by as much as 40% since 1990.” (posted 30.4.2012) Link to article

DAILY TELEGRAPH

100,000 (12,000 in NSW)

“The near-extinct koala population on the Central Coast is facing complete wipe-out … As it stands, koalas are on a trajectory to be extinct in NSW by 2050.”… (posted 31.1.17) Link to article

WWF (WORLD WILD FUND FOR NATURE)

2000 in Port Macquarie-Hastings LGA

“The Port Macquarie-Hastings LGA has an estimated 2,000 koalas, with 200 – 250 koalas admitted annually to its hospital…” From a report by Dr Christine Adams-Hosking, Honorary Research Fellow for WWF-Australia, May 2017

KOALA HOSPITAL, Port Macquarie

2,500 in the Hastings area NSW

Cheyne Flanagan, Koala Hospital Clinical Director “…believes the population of the Hastings currently sits at about 2500 koalas.” from a Port News Article 25.5.2017 Read article

SYDNEY UP CLOSE

‘There’s an ongoing debate in Australia over whether the koala needs protection as an endangered species. One of the main problems is that it’s not easy to get an accurate count. We simply don’t have reliable numbers. (from  website 1.7.17 good article and reference) Link to article