Rural job seekers were given licences to kill as many koalas they could in the month of August 1927.
Supplied: Australian Koala Foundation
Back in 1927, the Queensland Government declared open season on the state’s koala populations, which resulted in the killing of an estimated 800,000 koalas, 600,000 of which were killed for their pelts.
Although hunters weren’t paid a bounty, the cull was in response to an alleged boom in the number of koalas and became known as ‘Black August.’
The animal fur was used for the textile industry in the United States and Europe.
According to research by the Australian Koala Foundation, between 1888 and 1927 at least 8 million koalas were killed for the fur trade, leading the foundation to believe that the koala fur trade completely decimated wild populations.
The foundation said that the open season in Queensland ended after a major public backlash, led by Brisbane’s Anglican Archbishop Gerald Sharp.
The import of koala fur to the United States was eventually banned.
New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia banned open season on koalas in the early 1900s.
Despite this progress, conservationists argue that the effects of the open season are still being felt today.
Koalas are currently listed as vulnerable in Queensland.