Authorities Charge Companies With 250 Counts Of Animal Cruelty After Allegedly Killing Koalas

Not a koala from the story. Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images

Taylor Giles Contributor
Font Size:

Authorities in Australia charged two different companies and a landowner with over 250 counts of animal cruelty Wednesday.

The landowner and two companies allegedly killed 21 koalas and injured many more while clearing land near Melbourne in February 2020, according to CNN.

The group faces 126 charges each, with 18 aggravated cruelty charges, reported CNN. The identities of the individuals who were charged were not made public.

One charge of animal cruelty could result in $32,000 and 12 months in jail for individuals and a $78,000 fine for a business, the outlet reported.

Friends of the Earth Australia, preservation organization, characterized the killings as a “koala massacre.” It said it is “alarmed that such wanton destruction and widespread death and injuries continue to plague the south west Victorian plantation industry,” CNN reported. (RELATED: There’s Been A Development About The Koala That Was Rescued From The Wildfires)

One of the largest threats to koalas is tree clearing, according to the WWF-Australia. This requires koalas to spend more time moving on the ground, which leads to them being hit by cars and attacked by dogs.

Large amounts of habitat for koalas in Australia were destroyed by brush fires in 2019. Officials in New South Wales, Australia, believe koalas could be extinct before 2050 if koalas continue to lose habitat.