Friday, April 30, 2004 Posted: 9:01 AM EDT (1301 GMT)
Koalas are destroying their island environment near Australia.
SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) -- A koala population explosion on an Australian island has prompted calls for 20,000 of the furry, native marsupials to be shot to stop them destroying their island habitat and end a koala famine.
Some 30,000 koalas on Kangaroo Island, off the coast of the state of South Australia, are stripping the island of its native gum trees, destroying the ecosystem and causing a koala famine, say environmentalists and national parks officials.
"We are talking thousands of starving koalas," said Sandra Kanck from the Australian Democrats, Australia's third major political party.
"While they may be cute and cuddly we need to get beyond emotion to reality...my suggestion is professional shooters do it quickly and cleanly," Kanck told Reuters on Friday of the proposed cull.
The South Australian state government has rejected calls for a cull, preferring sterilization and relocation.
The Australian Koala Foundation also opposes a cull of the koalas, which on the Australian mainland are struggling to survive as urban development destroys their habitat.
Kangaroo Island tourist operators say a koala cull would severely damage the island's tourist industry.
"The koalas are so hungry they are eating pine needles," said Kanck. "What will tourists think of a habitat of denuded trees with desperate, starving koalas roaming the damaged landscape?"
I wonder if anyone eats koala out there. Since they're normally a protected species, this might be the one and only chance to get a koala burger legally. Shooting koalas should also be pretty easy...it's not like they can really scamper away or anything. You could pick them out of the trees with barely any effort I imagine. The aussie government should use this as a tourist gimmick. Book a vacation package to australia, see the sights, bag your limit of 5 koala for each visitor. Have them professionally stuffed and taken home as a souvineer. God knows that would be a trip I'd like to take.