Almost 700 koalas have been killed by authorities in Australia in a bid to prevent overpopulation.
According to officials, the 8,000-strong colony of koalas in the state of Victoria was too large for the woodland area and overpopulation had led to them starving.
Yahoo News reports 668 koalas were found to be in poor health and were humanely killed vets in consultation with koala experts and animal welfare personnel.
The state government in Vicotria kept the cull a secret in order to prevent a public backlash, the Telegraph reports.
Victoria state Environment Minister Lisa Neville said the koalas were euthanised around Cape Otway near the scenic tourist drawcard the Great Ocean Road, in 2013 and 2014.
"The intervention was necessary to prevent suffering of koalas because they weren't able to find enough food," Neville said in a statement.
The state government said no more secret culls would be allowed but biodiversity experts would be consulted about preventing further suffering.
The minister said she was seeking expert advice on how to manage the issue.
"Experience suggests that moving these koalas does not work and that can in fact cause even greater suffering," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The koala population may be booming in Cape Otway but the animals are under sever threat in other parts of Australia.
The Australian Koala Foundation estimates there are now less than 100,000 of the unique animals in the wild.
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