Australian Government pledges $50m for wildlife impacted by bushfires as koalas may become endangered

Veterinary surgeon, Army Captain Garnett Hall treats a Koala at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, on Kangaroo Island, Australia. Dozens of Koalas have been rescued from the fires over the past five days. EPA-EFE/DAVID MARIUZ

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The Australian Federal Environment Minister is concerned koalas could now be endangered in some areas as the Government establishes a $50 million emergency fund to address the devastating loss of wildlife this bushfire season.

Koalas will be a focus for restoration efforts, with as much as 30 per cent of koala habitat destroyed

The “initial contribution” funding comes from the $2 billion bushfire relief fund announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week.

“This has been an ecological disaster, a disaster that is still unfolding,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

“We know that our native flora and fauna have been very badly damaged.”

More than 10 million hectares of land has been razed by bushfires across the country, with more than 8.4 million hectares destroyed in New South Wales.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley says koalas suffered an “extraordinary hit” in the fires and the Threatened Species Scientific Committee will need to assess whether koalas have moved from a vulnerable listing to being endangered in some parts of the country.

Half of the emergency wildlife and habitat recovery fund will go to frontline responder groups including wildlife carers, hospitals and zoos including Zoos Victoria, Adelaide Zoo and Taronga Zoo.

Read more via ABC News

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