1. ITV Report

Koala listed as threatened species in parts of Australia

Koala bears have been listed as threatened species in parts of Australia Photo: APTN

The Australian government has listed one of its national symbols, the koala bear, as a threatened species in some parts of the country.

Speaking in Sydney Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke said he received advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee before taking the decision.

Their (Threatened Species Scientific Committee) advice, their recommendation to me is to list the koala as vulnerable, vulnerable in Queensland, vulnerable in New South Wales, vulnerable in the A.C.T. (Australian Capitol Territory).

I've accepted that advice and can now announce that the koala is now on the threatened species list in Australia for those parts of Australia.

It is believed that millions of koalas inhabited Australia before British settlers arrived. The hunting and slaughter of the animals for their furs in the 1920s devastated the species in some areas.

Public outrage put an end to the practice but numbers have never fully recovered, with estimates on the population varying from several hundred thousand to as few as 43,515.