sorry, 20,000 NT

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Posted by shitty speller...DEAL WITH IT! at on April 30, 2004 at 19:23:54:

Call to shoot 20,000 Australian koalas

SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) -- A koala population explosion on an Australian island has prompted calls for 20,000 of the furry, native marsupials to be shot to stop them destroying their island habitat and end a koala famine.

Some 30,000 koalas on Kangaroo Island, off the coast of the state of South Australia, are stripping the island of its native gum trees, destroying the ecosystem and causing a koala famine, say environmentalists and national parks officials.

"We are talking thousands of starving koalas," said Sandra Kanck from the Australian Democrats, Australia's third major political party.

"While they may be cute and cuddly we need to get beyond emotion to suggestion is professional shooters do it quickly and cleanly," Kanck told Reuters on Friday of the proposed cull.

The South Australian state government has rejected calls for a cull, preferring sterilization and relocation.

The Australian Koala Foundation also opposes a cull of the koalas, which on the Australian mainland are struggling to survive as urban development destroys their habitat.

Kangaroo Island tourist operators say a koala cull would severely damage the island's tourist industry.

"The koalas are so hungry they are eating pine needles," said Kanck. "What will tourists think of a habitat of denuded trees with desperate, starving koalas roaming the damaged landscape?"

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