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Last Updated: Wednesday September 27 2006 15:34 GMT

Fears koalas may become extinct

A koala

Animal experts in Australia have said koalas could die out in about 10 years if they are not given more protection.

A hundred years ago there were about 10 million of the sleepy creatures roaming Australia but today there are only 100,000 left.

About 4,000 get killed every year by cars and wild dogs and female koalas only have one baby a year.

But their biggest threat is from humans who have destroyed the eucalyptus trees they live in and munch on.

The special trees - the leaves are the only thing the animals eat - are often cut down to make space for houses for people to live in.

Koala
Koala

They are also burnt down in bush fires - which are often caused by people being careless.

At the moment koalas are protected in some parts of Australia, but the Australian Koala Foundation want to see the animals protected across the whole of the country.

It also wants the creature to be called 'endangered' instead of 'vulnerable'.