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  Australian koalas face extinction
Updated 17 June 2004, 14.39

Koalas could soon be extinct, animal campaigners have warned.

A national symbol of Australia, the animals face being wiped out within 15 years if the areas they live in continue to be destroyed.

Activists have called on the Australian government to protect the koala's delicate environment.

Although koalas are protected by law, the tall eucalyptus trees which they call home, and provide their main source of food, are not.

Fact File
Koalas
Koalas are not bears - they are marsupials
Koalas sleep in the daytime, and move around and feed at night
Koalas communicate by making a noise like a snore and then a belch, known as a "bellow"
When koalas are born, they are only 2 cm long, which is about as big as a jellybean

Destroyed

These woodland forests are being rapidly destroyed by the growing human population in Eastern Australia.

More than 4,000 of Australia's 100,000 koalas are killed each year by dogs and cars, so this new pressure could spell the end for Oz's furry friends.

Fussy Eaters

A particular problem is that koalas are very picky eaters, and only choose certain types of leaves.

This makes them especially vulnerable when the trees they eat are destroyed.

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