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HomeKoalasWhat is the fate of Australia's iconic koala?

ENLIST in KOALA ARMY with AKF

Last Updated on 02 October 2012

ENLIST-KOALA-ARMYThe KOALA ARMY NEEDS US ALL. ENLISTING is easy.

Support this action from Australian Koala Foundation. Go to the following linked page https://www.savethekoala.com/koala-army/send-letter and using information provided there, send a letter to  your  politicians. Phone them also for extra emphasis. Spread the word with your friends and family. Let them know you are joining the Koala Army to ask for a  Koala Protection Act. This is especially inportant as our current legislation and policies have failed and will continue to fail to protect  the koala's essential habitat.

It is particularly worrying that big business has had the government's ear and through COAG there are plans to give the EPBC Act 'powers' to state governments.

You might also like to go to the koala army shop to purchase a dog tag or army tee shirt?

 

 

Save the Koala Month, AKF - awareness and fundraising

Last Updated on 30 September 2012

koala-army logoSeptember is month allocated to Save the Koala Month, the annual awareness and fundraising initiative of the Australian Koala Foundation AKF. This year Donation Boxes will be on counters for you to donate at your local Newsagents, CUA branches and other outlets across Australia. However, this won't be enough, KOALAS, AKF and LACA need your help. We need people to order a donation box and place on a counter at your work, local gym or school.

Alternatively you can hold a fundraising event to help save koalas. Contact The AKF for advice and support.

All funds raised during the month of September will go directly to the instatement of the 'National Koala Act', a one-page piece of legislation which basically says:

"You cannot harm it, you cannot harm its joey and you cannot harm its habitat."

The AKF believes this is the only way to fully protect the koala and to stop the decline of koala numbers in the wild. LACA agrees that without protective legislation, koala populations will decline. Management Plans alone will not work as they include offsetting and mitigation. Great policy must be supported with legislation.

YOU CAN HELP by joining the AKF KOALA ARMY and by writing a letter. This page https://www.savethekoala.com/koala-army/send-letter has a sample letter and contact details for state and federal ministers. You can also talk to your local members.

We must all do our bit to keep a healthy koala population in the wild. Survival in a zoo must not be the fate of our national icon the koala.

 

Without YOU Koalas face extinction in SEQ

Last Updated on 29 November 2012

save-our-koalas-no-prcDid you see FOUR CORNERS KOALA KRUNCH TIME?

What a dismal future is "planned" for our koala populations in SEQ!

LACA members would agree with Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke's statement that "the states on their own have allowed numbers to continue to go into freefall." While this rapid decline in numbers may be attributed to development, cars, dogs, disease and climate change the real picture must also include the lack of political will to make decisions and legislation that will be loudly opposed by the development industry. The decades of work done by the Australian Koala Foundation - funded by community was instrumental in the EPBC protection coming about.

The image above shows community protest outside property DTMR wants to acquire to build a road freight motorway - called Park Ridge Connector Corridor. This property is currently shared with resident koalas and other species. It also shares many species and values of Berrinba Wetlands and Karawatha Forest.

Why would government want to pave any of this?

 

We - ie all governing bodies and communities of people who share koala land - need to preserve all koala habitat currently used - and take preventative action to retain the ecosytem containing the food trees. The mantra NO TREE NO ME is absolutely true.

It is a shameful indictment on the Gold Coast city that the Coomera development has occurred. The so called scientific research re translocation is a furphy to obtain funding. It does not  justify clearing koala habitat to build houses and infrastructure for people! To make matters worse Gold Coast council has recently decided to place a protection order on two camphor laurel trees - an environmental weed species. What persuaded them? Someone chained to a tree for two days.

 

 

 

Can we rescue the koala from extinction?

Last Updated on 30 September 2012

KoalaPhascolarctos-cinereusEPBCAustralia's most at-risk populations of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) – those in Queensland,New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory - are now protected under national environment law. These FAQs have been developed to inform industry, developers, landholders and landowners.

CLICK ON IMAGE to read about the listing and associated reports from federal government. After considering scientific advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee, Environment Minister Tony Burke has listed the Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory koala populations as vulnerable under national environment law.

The world is watching us in Australia to see whether we as a people, a nation, can save our iconic koala from extinction in all its local habitats. Unfortunately while we have many carers and wildlife support systems to rescue injured and sick koalas and save many to be rehabilitated there are as many individuals businesses and corporations that do not respect the values of habitat for wildlife - insisting that the financial costs of accommodating koala habitat is not an option.

The Australia government's declaration of partial protection under the EPBC Act is a small and hard won victory for the local and global conservation movement. 95% of South East Queensland's natural koala habitat is now gone as a result of land clearing that's making way for new urban dwellings to keep up with what is Australia's fastest growing region. Operation bulldozer has been in place and our new state government under leadership of Campbell Newman is not happy with  federal legislation slowing down development in Queensland.

Referral to the federal environment minister however will only be required if a development or action is likely to result in a significant impact to koala populations or their habitat. This is guided by relevant EPBC Act Significant Impact Guidelines, including specific Koala Significant Impact Guidelines which are currently being prepared.

Every species requires food to survive and for the koala their diet is restricted to a narrow range of eucalyptus trees. Not all gums are a food source and even koalas have their favoured trees - developed from the supply in their home range. The legislated requirement to return koalas their home range is a challenging one as ever more habitat has been cleared for human housing and asociated services or infrastructure.

May edition of National Geographic magazine feaures the hazards of being a koala in South East Queensland and the dedication that some of our koala heroes provide to rescue as many koalas as possible. Extracting a koala from barbed wire fencing in dark early hours of morning, scaling tall trees to monitor koala movement and sharing one's house with recouperating koalas are some tasks gladly tackled - and freely - to help our endangered koala population. Deidre de Villiers is one of these people. 

Learning to live in harmony with our local koalas - be they urban or rural is critical for their survival. LACA  is firmly committed to the belief that this is not only possible but essential. Deidre was one of our speakers where we presented ways to work towards achieving this. 

It is unfortunate that that sector of our community who see faster development as part of their business model feel threatened by new federal legislation. Our fast society - fast food, fast money, fast cars, fast development - does not connect with life in a slower lane where nature can be appreciated. We who connect with and care about the natural world and its species have an important role to play to rescue the koala from extinction. The determination of Debbie Tabbard of the Australian Koala Foundation, the community support for Australia Zoo and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland, the many nameless volunteers carers, landcare groups, organic farmers, scientists and researchers has been rewarded with federal legislation as a first real step to slowing the road to extinction.

As caring citizens we need to be watchdogs for compliance. We have also to network in our local communities and with local and state government agencies to create a better understanding of the value of biodiversity and functional healthy ecosystems.

Mr Burke's announcement includes some small but inadequate funding. The video clip linked here alerts us to the unsatisfactory "solution" of offsetting to allow a development to proceed. To date LACA's experience of offsetting has not occurred in local area concerned, has not benefited endangered target group and has not improved any corridors to allow koalas to move independantly. In addition if such offset are nor established pre-clearing they will not be a viable food source for the endangered local koalas.   

 

What is the fate of Australia's iconic koala?

Last Updated on 30 September 2012

koalas-killed-over-a-week-JoelSartoreThe Australian icon - the koala - is on the brink of extinction in its native bushland habitats. National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore took the photo shown in this article. Such a weekly death rate is unsustainable and will lead to the demise of our koalas outside of captive breed specimens in zoos - like China's panda bears.

Koala populations that used to be vibrant and sustainable are facing local extinction. Inadequate government legislation is to be held  acountable for this. Queensland has failed to do anything meaningful about the decline. Whether the newly elected government will improve the odds for koalas remains a question. The federal government needs to get involved and do it properly, listing the koala as vulnerable to extinction.  Such a designation might save the last remnants of critical koala habitat. Without habitat to provide a local food source the plight of the koala is bleak.

A recent report presented to the Australian Senate made several recommendations to save the koalas, including

  • listing the animals as threatened and vulnerable,
  • funding a program to monitor koala populations,
  • mapping their habitat, and
  • managing federal and private lands to protect the koalas.

All are essential and critical. Meanwhile local koala care groups in eastern Australia struggle to rescue rehabilitate and release recovered animals. Legislation requires that the koala is returned to its home range - a challenging exercise when widespread clearing for human settlement has occurred - or mining. The efforts of grassroots koala emergency squads will always be essential but individual carers must also be supported for expenses incurred.

The more koalas we lose, the more valuable each rescued koala becomes. The May edition of National Geographic relates some of the extraordinary challenges faced and meet by koala rescuers carers and local research people such as Deidré de Villiers who shares her home with recovering adults juveniles or dependant joeys. You can read their story here. Deidre has presented at past Logan and Albert Conservation Association workshops about learning to live harmoniously with koalas and other wildlife. It is possible if we are prepared to make some adjustments to the way we currently go about our daily lives.

 

Koala killing allowed by DERM and RSPCA

Last Updated on 30 September 2012

New partnership for wildlife carers

koala-blind-euthanisedThis koala was rescued on 5 October 2011, and taken to Daisy Hill Koala Sanctuary. He was euthanased at Moggil Hospital due to his being blind (from having had conjunctivitus and cystitis) and not having a suitable habitat to be released. He was 6 years old. Apparently if his habitat was denser he would be fine to survive as they usually rely mainly on smell and hearing (in a koala with normal sight). They do release koala's that are blind.

Image aside is one of the photos of the koala "rescued" by a local wildlife carer.

The new partnership between DERM and RSPCA ,Qld and the carer network would strengthen the overall care of wildlife in Queensland by combining resources and providing a united approach. RSPCA Qld and DERM have driven this change to improve coordination and response times, and reduce the time that animals are in distress according to Mr Bradley from RSPCA

The change to 1300 ANIMAL means the caller will speak directly to an experienced RSPCA Qld operator who will arrange an appropriate response. The partnership covered various aspects of the management and regulation of protected wildlife rescue, care and rehabilitation.

The new arrangements will be trialed for 12 months from 1 September, and DERM has contributed $60,000 to support the improved response and the RSPCA's package of improved networking, training and communication for the wildlife carer network. DERM will still be responsible for issuing wildlife rehabilitation permits.

The care and rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife is delivered through a dedicated volunteer network of licensed wildlife carers throughout Queensland. RSPC Qld currently has approximately 400 'wildlife heroes' who are available to conduct the rescue of sick, injured or orphaned animals and who support wildlife carers and that number is set to increase following a recruitment drive.

DERM ensures that wildlife care is done according to best practice and meets the expectations of the broader community through a Code of Practice for carers.

Read that code here. I have some reservations about the code. Hopefully there will be an open review after 12 month trial period.

You can see the presentation delivered to wildlife carers here.  New partnership for wildlife care information is here

The greatest threat to our local koalas in the LACK OF POLITICAL WILL TO CREATE LEGISLATION TO PROTECT THEIR HABITAT.

 

Report Your Wildlife Sightings here

Last Updated on 12 March 2012

babe2Residents are asked to participate in the Logan City Council's phone-in and web-based community koala survey on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October 2011

Report Your Wildlife Sightings here

Council would appreciate any sightings (or evidence) of threatened or locally significant wildlife you may have encountered in Logan, by submitting the following sighting details. You may also provide records of any deceased animals, such as roadkill animals, as this information is also important.

For the phone-in survey, please call 07 3820 1103 between 8am and 5pm to record your sightings from the weekend.

Information that we will be collecting on the day includes sex, health, location, behaviour and the trees species in which it is located. This information will help us obtain local data about koala distribution and inform planning and management. Of course if you do not know all of this, LOCATION is most important - other details help paint a better picture.

Thanks for helping with wildlife sightings - at all times.

The koala in the image above Babe was rescued from dogs in the Jimboomba area 2009. Legislation requires the koala to be released in the  same general area after recovery. Read some of Babe's story here.

 

Report of the Senate Inquiry into Koalas

Last Updated on 12 March 2012

Report of the Senate Inquiry into Koalas

koala-graceland-drive67-79The Report of the Senate Inquiry into Koalas, The koala – saving our national icon, was finally tabled in Federal Parliament on 22 September. It is a very readable document and its nineteen recommendations provide a sound framework for important first steps in improving the chances of saving koalas in areas where their numbers have declined significantly.

Minister Burke says he also welcomes the Report and that he will be working through the Committee's recommendations as well as the extensive assessment undertaken by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee and comments from the public in his own assessment of whether or not to list the Koala under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. While the situation is complex, we believe the Act does lend itself to a vulnerable listing in areas where koala populations have declined significantly or are at risk of doing so.

We call on Minister Burke to find a way to do the right thing and list.

The Report is available here.

The recommendations can be read here

Of particular importance is Recommendation 17

5.82 The committee recommends the Environment Minister consider options to improve the conservation status of the diverse and rapidly declining koala populations in New South Wales and Queensland to ensure a nationally resilient population is maintained. These options include listing the koala as vulnerable under the EPBC Act in areas where populations have declined significantly or are at risk of doing so.

UNLESS THERE IS FEDERAL LEGISLATION THAT REQUIRES ALL ACTIVITIES WITH POTENTIAL TO IMPACT NEGATIVELY OF THE SURVIVAL OF THE KOALA IN ITS NATURAL HABITAT BE REFERRED FOR FEDERAL JURISDICTION LACA FEARS THAT KOALAS WILL VANISH FROM THE LANDSCAPE OF SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND.

Current Queensland Policy is smoke and mirrors with most developments ULDA TMR road power water infrastructure being interested only in the lowest cost for their 'job'. Future health and wellbeing of any wildlife is not part of the cost of the activity. There have been no detailed seasonal study for any fauna or flora - apart from Melaleuca Irbyana .  Claims are being made that species are locally extinct - at the same time residents are reporting active koala movements.

Image above clearly shows a koala crossing the open land on property behind me. My unmowed  native grass paddock would prevent me from seeing a koala crossing. Your sightings are invaluable as data to protect our wildlife.

 

 

 

Status of koala still to be decided - our local impact

Last Updated on 30 September 2012

Globally Australia in being watched to see the results and outcomes of the recent report by the Australian Parliamentary inquiry into the status of the iconic animal's population. This report acknowledges that the koala is under serious threat - our iconic animal's population is diminishing in some areas.

Following a lengthy investigation, the official report released a few days ago paints a bleak picture, indicating that koala numbers are in free fall, with few exceptions. "Declines of 80 per cent in some areas and even localised extinctions in other areas have been documented."

The report listed 19 recommendations to halt the decline. A very significant one within Logan - Scenic Rim area is koala-unfriendly roads. Although state roads in some other areas have made provisions for safer wildlife movement, this is not so with Main Roads Nerang who have road design responsibility in Logan. LACA Logan and Albert Conservation Association has been in dialogue with this team since the upgrade to Mt Lindesay Highway began with the service roads from Park Ridge to Norris Creek and the current roadworks for the overpass at Crowson Lane.

LACA has not been impressed with the lack of adequate fauna infrastructure provided to date - despite our ongoing lobbying. A mandatory retrofitting process would be beneficial. What is the pupose of a koala crossing sign in a 8- to 100 kph speed zone. SLOWING DOWN is also critical and is recommended in the report. All documents relaing to the inquiry are available here.

As a local conservation group in a local government area being pressed by state government and its agent ULDA to accommodate 200,000 plus people in the next few decades the importance of federally endangered status for the koala is critical. South East Queensland is largely unmapped for koalas and habitat is disappearing overnight - witness the $50 million monstrosity on Mt Lindesay Highway. At least 3 koalas were seen during the clearing phase and frequent road crossings by koalas have been reported in the area.

If you are concerned about the welfare of our koalas now is not the time to sit back. All the seats were taken in every public hearing and more than 70 of the 101 submissions were from community-based koala conservation groups - but our work is not yet done.

How would it look if our iconic koala became extinct?

There are preventable causes of death as Dr Jon Hangar says in his submission 

a. Death or injury during vegetation clearing (this is a significant cause of loss of koalas)

b. Death on roads and rail;

c. Death or injury by domestic dogs

 

KOALA data collection in Logan - can you help?

Last Updated on 12 March 2012

KOALA data collection in Logan - can you help?

koala-dogThe announcement by Logan City Council that it will ask residents to  collect  information regarding the sex, health, location, behaviour and the tree species in which koalas are located is welcome. There is an acknowledgement that koalas are an important part of our environment.

We are particularly keen to understand how Logan City Council's koala dog Oscar - pictured aside will complement  the koala survey methods used by volunteer resident "citizen scientists" to provide more accurate local habitat mapping city wide.

Although curently Logan may be blessed by 78.9% tree cover that is subject to rapid clearing of sustantial areas for new housing developments, industrial development and the crisscrossing of roads creating a patchwork of disconnected areas of habitat which make no provisions for safe movement of any of our local fauna.

Read council's news re the koala dog here.

As yet there is no online process to become involved in the survey. Read about it here. Phone 3412 3412 for more information.

It is useful to understand that koalas' food source tree the eucalypt is eaten very selectively  - only 17 out of 700 different gums are favoured locally growing gums - and then there are other factors not yet understood. In order for all plants to reproduce pollination has to occur and the pollinator of eucalypts is the flying fox.

Our much loved koala and the targeted maligned and misunderstood flying fox are co dependant - both needing the eucalypt as a food source. The flowers of gums open at night when flying foxes are foraging and are thus pollinated by these critically important animals.  The collapse of honey bees worried our food production because the uncosted labour performed by bees is difficult to replicate by humans [ not impossible in some circumstances.

How would we scale trees at night in a 4 hour window of time to replace the pollination services of flying foxes? All too often we fail to see  wider connections of ecosystem and ecological services - provided freely when biodiversity infrastructure is intact - by our ecosystem services.  

 

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