Cute widdle menaces


In some parts of Australia, koalas are an endangered species, having long been threatened by hunting and urban sprawl. But on Kangaroo Island, locals would like nothing more than to blast the cuddly marsupials into cutie-pie heaven, the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR reports.

On Kangaroo Island — the result of a well-intentioned experiment gone wrong — koalas have multiplied to more than 10,000 since they were first introduced by conservationists in the 1920s. They now pose a threat to the island’s farmers and its trees. Farmers on the island backed an initiative to control the koala population by shooting them — a measure that was rejected in favor of a sterilization and relocation program.

However, members of the Australian Koala Foundation (who, incidentally, vastly outnumber members of the Australian Two-Toed Sloth Foundation) criticize the steralizations as destructive to the koalas’ social structure. “Humans are the ones who have made this mistake, and it’s humans who have got to fix it up,” says the group’s director.