It’s hard for us humans to understand what 16 million years of koala evolution is. And it’s even more difficult to get a sense for how quickly we are wiping koalas out. Which ever way I try to get my head around these figures, I still cannot comprehend the damage we have done.
The above “16 million years bottled into one day” statement is based on the assumption that there was about 10 million koalas at the time of white settlement, that there are around 80,000 koalas remaining today, and that we have done the koala killing in the last 200 years. Given that most of the reduction in koala numbers has happened in the last 100 years (with millions of koalas killed in the early 1920s alone), you could say that we have wiped out 99.5% of the koala population in half a second.
However we look at this, and whether we comprehend the rapidness of the damage we have done or not, the time to take action to help koalas is now.