The Koala "Bear" - along with the kangaroo - (they are both marsupials) and platypus duck (a mammal) is the symbol of the glory of Australia's wildlife.
While Koalas are not officially listed as an endangered species, a number of elements now contribute to the shockingly vast decline in their numbers (possibly so low as 43,000 - down from previous estimates of over 100,000) : urban development /deforestation, climate change, brushfires, being served as an "exotic meal" and chlamydia (sexually transmitted) are the major factors leading to the possible loss of this adorable creature within 30 years.
The Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia - founded in Sydney - celebrated its centenary in May, 2009 and throughout the year. The Society originated the world's first Conservation Day, which became Earth Day in the United States some years later and has been observed and celebrated as such throughout the world ever since.
The Society has fought to save the Koala for many years, insuring their survival by contacting President Herbert Hoover (1929 -1933) and influencing him sufficiently that he implemented a total ban on the importation of intentionally mislabeled koala pelts to the United States.
The Society has fought to set up a Union to conserve the Indian Ocean, succeeded in banning the use of wild bird plumage, and - in 1928 - was the first non-governmental organisation to join The Union for the Protection of Nature (now The World Conservation Union) upon its founding.
The work to preserve, conserve and protect the continent of Australia - and neighbouring Tasmania - is infinite. Fruit Pigeons, Cassowaries, Bilbys, Wombats, the Australian Seabird, native forests and the Great Barrier Reef are treasures to the world - in need of constant vigilance and care.
The awareness and dedication of individuals and groups such as the Society give rise to hope and promise for our neighbours "Down Under".