Tragic koala photo has Aussies calling for change: 'So sad'

The death of a koala well-known to a local community is the latest in a string of incidents linked to the clearing of native habitat for development.

A photo of a dead koala treasured by a local community has sparked calls for more to be done to preserve the habitat of the endangered Aussie icon.

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on Monday announced the passing of beloved koala, Cathie Bravo, with his death occurring only "months after a large part of his home range was cleared for development".

Cathie Bravo's body can be seen at the foot of a tree surrounded by grass and twigs.
The koala, named Cathie Bravo, lived in the Lake Cathie area for 15 years and was well-known in the local community. Source: Facebook/KoalaHospitalPortMacquarie

The animal had been a "Lake Cathie local" for 15 years before his habitat on the NSW Mid North Coast was cleared for development in August, with the koala rehabilitation centre calling for further protections to stop wildlife habitats being destroyed.

"Bravo was well known, and residents were upset to see his habitat removed last August," the koala hospital's sad announcement read, before sharing an investigation into his death was underway.

"Now more than ever, every tree is important to our local koalas."

Left, the koala can be seen on a tree among branches and leaves. Right, Cathie Bravo is sleeping on top of the tree with its fur blending into the colour of the branch.
Many people recalled their fond memories of seeing Cathie Bravo in the area and called for better protection of the native animals. Source: Facebook/KoalaHospitalPortMacquarie

Native koalas now endangered: 'We need to preserve their habitat'

With a steep decline in Australia's koala population being observed in the last decade, the native animal is now considered endangered in Queensland, NSW and the ACT.

Despite the Federal Government investing a record $50 million to boost koala recovery early last year, many environmental groups have stressed that habitat clearing needs to stop if the species has any chance at surviving.

The death of Bravo has reignited the outcry over the destruction of koala habitat by developers, as people worry about the animal becoming extinct.

"So sad to see koalas go! Such beautiful animals — we need to preserve their habitat, not invade it for development," one wrote.

"We need the NSW Govt to step up and stop allowing old approved development approvals to continue without review and taking into account wildlife impact, and we need to stop logging in native forest," another said.

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