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In a major victory for a quickly declining koala population in Australia, The Environment Minister of New South Wales (NSW) will halt timber harvesting operations immediately within critical koala hubs in the Great Koala National Park.

The government’s plan is to connect 175,000 hectares of publicly-owned state forests to existing National Parks, creating a 315,000 hectare nature reserve in the Coffs Coast Region, giving endangered koalas a protected habitat to live and thrive in.

The species is in serious decline due to habitat destruction, bushfires, and road collisions. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 57,920 koalas remaining in the wild, possibly only as few as 32,065 left.

“This decision is also a recognition that logging has a devastating impact on koalas and biodiversity. We applaud them for ensuring that the most important areas of koala habitat in NSW be protected,” said Dr. Brad Smith, the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales’ CEO.

Source: World Animal News