Editor’s Note: Since publication, the headline and lede of this story have been changed to better reflect the content of the reporting, and some clarifications have been made.

As Australia experiences record-breaking drought and bushfires, koala populations have dwindled along with their habitat, leaving one group claiming the species is “functionally extinct,” though not all koala experts accept this claim.

The chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, Deborah Tabart, estimates that over 1,000 koalas have been killed from the fires and that 80 percent of their habitat has been destroyed.

Recent bushfires, along with prolonged drought and deforestation has led to koalas becoming “functionally extinct” according to the Australian Koala Foundation. However, some researchers call into question that prediction, noting how difficult it is to measure total koala populations and populations could be a much larger than estimated by the AKF.

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