00:26 GMT05 August 2020
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    Authorities in southeastern Australia have killed nearly 700 koalas due to the animals' alleged overpopulation.

    Almost 700 koalas have been killed by authorities in southeastern Australia after officials claimed that the animals were starving due to overpopulation, media reports said.

    According to Victorian Environment Minister Lisa Neville, the koalas were captured and sedated before being put down in the Cape Otway Area, located near Great Ocean Road, between 2013 and 2014.

    "The intervention was necessary to prevent suffering of koalas because they weren't able to find enough food. Population densities were reaching up to 20 koalas per hectare at Cape Otway," Neville said.

    She added that a total of 686 koalas were culled by veterinarians in consultation with koala experts and animal welfare personnel.

    Neville pledged to be “transparent” with the Australian people in the future, saying that a koala-management program would soon be developed for the much-loved furry animals.

    More than 10 million koalas were thought to be in Australia before British settlers arrived there in 1788.

    Right now, there are less than 100,000 of the animals in the wild, according to the Australian Koala Foundation, which attributed a plunge in their population to habitat loss, disease, dog attacks, bushfires and other factors.

    The foundation pointed the finger at the Australian government, which they said "should hang its head in shame, for allowing a secret cull of koalas."


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