Koala is a vulnerable species

Tourism is helping to protect an Australian icon, the koala, from extinction.

Earlier this year, the koala was listed as a vulnerable species, with the cuddly creatures facing the threats of habitat loss, bushfire and drought.

Near Melbourne, koala researchers are monitoring the animals in the wild and compiling as much data as they can, Total Travel reports.

Using GPS, the koalas can be tracked and the information which has been gathered is then used to provide educational tours for visitors who meet the animals in the wild and learn about their preferences, habits, family trees and relationships.

“Through tourism, we can give something back to the iconic wild animals of Australia” said Janine Duffy, who is involved with the programme.

“We need to know what makes good habitat for koalas in every region they occupy” she said.

As well as entertaining tourists, this information is used to inform land management decisions.

Written by Ruth Norris

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