A dwindling koala population in some parts of Australia has prompted federal government moves to protect the country's iconic species.

At-risk koala populations in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, will be listed as "vulnerable"- requiring protection under national environment law.

There has been pressure to protect the iconic Australian animal said Australia's Environment Minister, Tony Burke.

"People have made it very clear to me that they want to make sure the koala is protected for future generations."


Habitat loss, urban expansion, vehicle strikes, dog attacks and disease pose a serious threat to the koala, he said.

However, population numbers of these tree-dwelling marsupials vary significantly across the country.

In some areas the decline is dire, in others there are large, stable or even increasing populations, Mr Burke said.

- Herald Online staff