Koala berries thrive in Australia

Symbolic animal of Australia: Koalas in need: Australia wants to put koala bears under protection

They sleep almost 20 hours a day: koalas. They are endangered in some regions of Australia. Therefore the Australian government wants to protect the marsupials better.

Environment Secretary Tony Burke said Monday threatened gray marsupial populations should be placed on Australia's list of endangered species. The koalas are threatened in two states: New South Wales and Queensland. But they are also in danger in the capital region of Canberra because their habitats are getting smaller and smaller. Cars, dogs and diseases also endangered the population. The animals are "clearly in trouble, so we have to do something," said Burke.

Koalas in Australia: their populations are not at risk everywhere

The koalas are animals with high symbolic power for Australia and have a "special place" in society, said Burke. In other areas in the southern states of Victoria and New South Wales, however, the cute marsupials are thriving so well that the authorities have to intervene to curb their uncontrolled spread.

At the beginning of the 20th century, several million koalas still lived in Australia. Experts estimate the number of marsupials, which sleep around 20 hours a day and feed exclusively on eucalyptus leaves, at just 43,000 to a few hundred thousand specimens today. Last year, an official study warned of the increasing endangerment of koalas. afp