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Koalas in wild face extinction

SYDNEY (Reuter) - The cuddly koala is in danger of extinction in the wild, conservationists said yesterday. 'Unless economists join conservationists and recognise the value of our wildlife by considering the environment, the only koalas left will be in souvenir shops,' said Deborah Tabart of the Australia Koala Foundation.

The foundation was voicing concern on the eve of the country's National Koala Day aimed at raising funds for research and protection of the tree-living marsupial. Some wildlife experts fear the koala population has halved from an estimated 400,000 in the mid-1980s.