Australia's environmental minister on Monday designated koalas as a threatened species in three territories in response to a population decline and destruction of the marsupial's habitat. There are now 40 percent fewer koalas in Queensland than 20 years ago, a drop that conservationists attribute to habitat loss and higher-than-normal temperatures, which have led koalas to venture into settled areas and risk attack by domesticated animals. The designation will limit development in koala habitat in Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capitol Territory. The Australian Koala Foundation is urging the government to expand protections country-wide. "I'm delighted with this because it is going to slow things down, but it's not going to save our koalas," said foundation spokeswoman Deborah Tabart.
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