Koalas found dead on Australia logging plantation

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Canberra, Feb 2 (IANS) Dozens of koalas were found dead or injured at a timber plantation in the Australian state of Victoria, sparking an investigation by officials, a media report said on Sunday.

Blue gum trees, an important koala habitat, were harvested from the plantation last December, leaving only a few isolated stands of trees, the BBC report said.

After the plantation was logged last December, reports of hundreds of starving koalas came in, environmental group Friends of the Earth Australia said.

“People apparently witnessed the bulldozing of many dead koalas into slash piles,” it said.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning said it was prepared to prosecute over the incident.

About 80 surviving koalas have been removed and were being cared for.

Andrew Pritchard from the Department of the Environment said 25 koalas had been euthanised.

The deaths come after tens of thousands of koalas were killed in the bushfires that have ravaged Australia since last September.

The marsupial is listed as “vulnerable” by Australia’s Environment Ministry.

–IANS

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