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Posted by gsnoopy520 
April 11, 2018 01:58AM
SYDNEY, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Queensland government is doing all that it can to save the iconic cuddly Koala bears numbers from dwindling any further.

The latest attempt by the state government is to get the public involved through a new online survey which aims to gauge the community's perceptions towards the management of Koalas bears in the state.

At present, Koalas are classified as "vulnerable" in Queensland after their population dropped dramatically since a decade ago.

Queensland's State Environment Minister Steven Miles in a statement said the initiative was in tandem with "Save the Koala Month" which starts on Friday and ends on October 21.

"The survey will be used, in part, by our newly appointed koala expert panel in the development of recommendations for future strategies to ensure the long-term survival of koalas in the wild in the state's south-east," Miles said.

"We want input from the public, and will be also consulting with key organisations including regional council's, land use and planning representatives, and koala conservation representatives," he said.

"There's now an additional 12.1 million Australian dollars (9.2 million U.S. dollars) to boost koala conservation measures and improve population surveys over the next four years, and a further 2.6 million Australian dollars (1.98 million U.S. dollars) per annum for ongoing funding for koala protection," he said.

"This funding will provide continued support for koala care and rehabilitation services, expanded population surveys and funding for the Moggill Koala Hospital and Daisy Hill Koala Centre," he said.

Although protection measures have been in place for the past 20 years, there is still a decline in koala population densities, which is concerning, Miles admitted.

"However without these existing measures, there is the potential that the decline may have been significantly greater."

"There is now an opportunity to review all koala programs and initiatives to determine if changes are needed to current strategies," Miles said.

Meanwhile Co-owner of Hartley's Crocodile Adventures Angela Freeman told News Corp on Friday that suburban living was the main reason why the numbers of Koala bears were dwindling.

"The simple fact is that urban development has resulted in Koala habitat being lost and fragmented," she said.

"With the introduction of highways and other structures Koalas have been forced to the ground where they're vulnerable to vehicles and dog attacks," Freeman said.

"It puts a lot of stress on the animals, and just like us, they become more susceptible to diseases when they're stressed," she said.

She said increasing Koala numbers was a matter of statewide importance.

"We need to look at setting up other colonies of Koalas elsewhere, in other suitable habitats," she said.

"The fact of the matter is that we as a human population have changed the environment for animals."

"We can't just jump into a time machine and fix it. We have a very finite period of time to deal with the Koala situation in Queensland. Time is not on our side," she said.

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