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Australia Boosts Spending to Protect Koalas,

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) Australia will invest 50 million dollars ($35 million) over the coming four years to safeguard Koala habitats and slow the decline of this endangered species, the government announced on Saturday.

Disease, bushfires are destroying the marsupials native to Australia, and automobiles and estimates of their population vary from around 330,000 to a maximum of 100,000 wild.

“Koalas are one of Australia’s most loved and best-recognized icons … and we are committed to protecting them for generations to come,” Prime Scott Morrison, the Minister for Environment and Heritage Scott Morrison, said.

The new plan will increase the government’s investment in koalas up to over A$74 million as of 2019. The money will be used to restore habitats, study the population, and further research into Koala health.

Chlamydia is an infection transmitted sexually and presents in humans, is spreading in koalas, and has affected about half of the animals found in certain regions.

A study done by the World Wildlife Fund estimated that more than 60,000 Koalas had been injured, killed, or affected by bushfires between 2019 and 2020.

Koalas reside in eucalyptus forests in the eastern states and along the coast, typically around 20 years. They carry their children in their pouches, and they sleep for 18 to 20 hours per day.

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