Our furry friends are in trouble. Despite Borobi koala being chosen as the icon for the Commonwealth Games this year, the real koalas on the Gold Coast are in dire straits. The population continues to decline regardless of measures taken to date to “save” them and experts such as Dr Steven Phillips predict they will be extinct in the wild within 5-10 years unless further immediate action is taken. You can be part of the solutions.
Rose Adams explains how recent legislative changes have swept away many of the safeguards that were in place to protect koala habitat in Queensland, making it easier for developers to cut through the so-called ‘green tape’.
What happens to the koalas living in an area earmarked for development? In the very bad old days, animals were simply chased away, “thrown over the fence” (a quote from a former Town Planning officer) or just ignored. It was assumed they would move on, find new trees and somehow adapt to their changed circumstances.
The reality is, however, that koalas cannot successfully co-inhabit spaces where their food trees are drastically reduced to make way for housing. The accompanying roads, speeding cars, domestic pets, lights and noise all result in unbearable stress, injury and often their death of these iconic Australian animals.
The koala is perhaps the most iconic Australian animal, and is a popular species with international visitors. According to very recent research by the Australian Koala Foundation (AKF), it has been estimated that koala-related tourism generates $3.2 billion in revenue annually across Australia and also generates around 30,000 jobs
Queensland is fortunate to have one of the largest natural populations of koalas in the wild. Koala populations are scattered across the eastern half of Queensland, as far west as Cunamulla, Quilpie, Longreach and Hughenden and as far north as Cooktown. However, the highest densities of koalas occur in the south east corner of the State.
The Single State Planning Policy has done nothing to protect koala habitat. If the government isnt going to protect Australia’s icon, who can? People are needed to partake in a survey and maybe the results will stir someone on government to change the laws and bring back vegetation protection and stop development in koala habitat
How many of us had a stuffed Koala toy when we were little? I know I did – and I still have him! But did you know that one of Australia’s most iconic animals is once again a threatened species?
On the 26th of this month, Gecko (The Gold Coast and Hinterland Environmental Council) is proud to present some very well known speakers at our ‘Nature Talks’ evening – who will share with us the plan for turning around the fate of these beloved marsupials.