Wednesday 18th of September 2019

save the koala...

In April 2012, the Australian Government declared the Koala as ‘VULNERABLE” under the Federal EPBC Act in New South Wales, the Act and Queensland.  Victoria and South Australia were excluded from the listing. 

The AKF believes that the Koala should have been listed in all States. 
Research conducted by the AKF strongly suggests the Koala’s conservation status should be upgraded to “CRITICALLY ENDANGERED” in the South East Queensland Bioregion as the Queensland Minister for the Environment has declared them to be “functionally extinct”.  


Koalas are in serious decline suffering from the effects of habitat destruction, domestic dog attacks, bushfires and road accidents. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 100,000 Koalas left in the wild, possibly as few as 43,000. You can see how we determined those figures here.


It is the AKF’ view that is no legislation that effectively and/or consistently protects Koala habitat anywhere within Australia, not necessarily because the legislation does not exist, but because there is not always the political will to adequately resource, implement, police and enforce such legislation.

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Australia's koala population faces extinction across large parts of New South Wales and Queensland as urbanisation, land clearing and climate change threaten the vulnerable species' habitats.

Experts are warning of an "unfolding tragedy" which could see koalas wiped out of regions including the Koala Coast south-east of Brisbane, and the Pilliga Forests area in northern NSW.

Populations close to Byron Bay, Ballina, Port Macquarie and Gunnedah in NSW are also under threat, while koala numbers in regions near Mackay and Toowoomba in Queensland have suffered declines of up to 80 per cent.

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In the image at top, from The Modern Reference Encycopaedia Illustrated, published 1939 for Australia by the Courier Mail and the Sunday Mail, Brisbane, the caption says:

The Australian takes a natural pride in his native flora and fauna for though all the useful animals, including the horse, cattle and sheep, and all the edible grains and fruits were introduced, Australia has some remarkable animals, birds and trees, found nowhere else. Notable amongst these is the State-protected Koala or Native Bear, shown above.

What happened? Humans! We don’t really care. We don’t care about anything else but ourselves. 
The present status of the Koala, except those in zoos that are sometimes wheeled out to pee on visiting public figures, is horrible. Something has to be done about this situation. An end to “development” in areas where there are still some wild koalas. A few points though: First, the koala isn’t a “bear”. Second it is not protected by the State. Third, Australian is made of he and she… Come on Australians! 
Wake up, your koalas are being killed liked vermin and soon there will be less of them than Pandas, which is a real bear, for which you give to WWF some cash… It’s time to save the koala from our greedy paws. We need State laws that prohibit DEVELOPMENTS, CONSTRUCTION and DEFORESTATION. 

the solution is simple...




State and Federal laws that prohibit DEVELOPMENTS, CONSTRUCTION and DEFORESTATION. 



under the guise of "scientific purposes"...

Queensland koalas have been translocated under the guise of "scientific purposes" without any evidence of resultant scientific studies. Sue Arnold reports.

THERE ARE OMINOUS signs that the Queensland Government may soon adopt translocation of any koala colony as policy, to ensure developers are not hampered by any necessity to protect habitat.

The Queensland Government’s approval of a major translocation of koalas from Coomera to distant conservation areas is regarded as the largest translocation project undertaken in Queensland and New South Wales. 

As the purpose of the project was to facilitate the development of the Coomera Town Centre located in 900 ha of prime koala habitat, the translocation contradicted any suggestion that “scientific purposes” was the raison d’etre.

Nevertheless, scientific permits were issued by the Government to allow the project to proceed.

As virtually all relevant documents giving approval to the translocation are unavailable on the public record, Right to Information (RTI) requests are the only way to dig into the closet of this “transparent” Government.


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save the clumsy possum!...

A government-owned logging company is conducting a controversial experiment expected to kill native animals that are already heading toward extinction, the ABC can reveal.

Key points: 
  • VicForests logging and burning forest where threatened species lives — for research
  • The government-owned company knows the experiment is likely to kill greater gliders 
  • Expert compares project to Japan's scientific whaling


VicForests is owned by the Victorian Government and logs native forests for profit under exemptions to federal environment law.

It is now logging parts of East Gippsland forest at different intensities to measure survival rates of the threatened greater gliders that call it home.

VicForests argued the research would assist the conservation of the species, but acknowledged it was likely to kill some of them.

In an email seen by the ABC that addressed similar logging nearby, VicForests' staff acknowledged deaths were likely.

"It is unfortunate that some individuals have to die in the process, but we really need to look at the big picture here," a VicForests ecologist wrote.

And when asked if gliders that survived the initial logging would die when VicForests burnt the leftover wood, the company's manager of biodiversity conservation Tim McBride said: "Yep, that's a very likely outcome."


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Any humans out there with a brain rather than a chainsaw?... Ah, I know... They've transplanted human intelligence in mice...

Greater gliders are known as the "clumsy possum".

save the stygofauna...

Conservationists have said the oil company Santos has not addressed questions about how its proposed 850-well Narrabri coal seam gas project in New South Wales would affect threatened species.

Two new reports, including one by a former ecologist for the NSW environment and heritage office, say the company had not adequately responded to submissions which raise concerns about animal and plant surveys Santos conducted for its environmental impact statement.

Santos’s formal reply to more than 20,000 public submissions was criticised by opponents when it was released earlier this year.

David Paull, a consultant ecologist who was employed by the NSW government, wrote a response disputing Santos’s findings that endangered box gum woodlands were not present at the project site and that yellow box was either absent or “occurs at such low abundance to be meaningless in terms of plant composition”.

Paull said the company had also failed to conduct surveys for stygofauna, which are species that help purify groundwater, despite a recommendation from the independent expert scientific committee that it do so.


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Homo sapiens = rapists of the planet...

save the swift parrot...

Habitat for the critically endangered swift parrot is being “knowingly destroyed” by logging because of government failures to manage the species’ survival, according to research.

Matthew Webb and Dejan Stojanovic, two of the Eureka prize finalists from the Australian National University’s difficult bird research group, say governments have stalled on management plans that would protect known feeding and nesting habitat in Tasmania.

The researchers analysed logging in Tasmania’s southern forests during the 20-year course of the previous regional forest agreement.


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and the digging started...

in a flap...

Wildlife watchers are in a flap after one of Australia's rarest species of bird, the regent honeyeater, was spotted three times in Queensland in recent weeks.

Urban development and drought have destroyed the habitat of the critically-endangered bird and its population is believed to be as low as 400 in the wild across Australia.

The bird is extinct in South Australia and western Victoria, but is found in woodlands west of the Great Dividing Range.

The three sightings near the Queensland coast have the Australian birdwatching community excited, but also concerned.


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road kill...

Special tunnels, bridges and fencing are failing to save New South Wales' dwindling koala population from speeding traffic, the state's "road kill" files reveal.

Key points: 
  • The files were obtained by the ABC under freedom of information laws
  • They reveal dozens of koalas have been killed on the Pacific Highway in the past five years
  • Koala populations are dwindling on the NSW north coast, and are listed as "locally endangered" in several locations there


One tragic incident recorded on video shows an injured koala trapped in supposedly wildlife-proofed tunnel, unable to crawl to safety as traffic roars past.

As tunnel operators try to organise a rescue, a semi-trailer driver ignores flashing warning signs and crosses into the closed lane, killing the koala. 

The video is part of the State Government's "road kill" files and was obtained under freedom of information laws from NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

The files show where koalas are being killed around NSW, and includes five years of incident reports from the Pacific Highway, where 68 koala deaths were recorded.

The video, from 2017, was recorded in the St Helena tunnel, near Byron Bay on the state's north coast, where koalas are listed as "locally endangered".

An incident report about the rescue operation tells how an RMS tunnel operator spotted "something flapping" on a surveillance camera. 

After zooming in, the operator focuses on the injured koala.

According to the report, the operator activated LED signs commanding drivers to stay in the left lane, and then made urgent calls for wildlife rescue volunteers to attend.


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destroying koalas habitats...

The rate of land clearing in northern NSW more than tripled after the Berejiklian government eased native vegetation protection in 2017 to the rate of about 14 football fields of koala habitat per day, a new report has found.

The report, compiled by WWF and the Nature Conservation Council using satellite imagery, was released on Friday to coincide with National Threatened Species Day.

The 22,000 square-km region studied, west of Moree, had been a focus of intensive land clearing – legal and illegal – even prior to last year's repeal of the Native Vegetation Act, Wendy Hawes, an ecologist, said.


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adopt a koala...

People are being encouraged to 'adopt' a koala this Christmas amid ongoing concerns about their severely declining numbers. 

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on the mid-north coast of New South Wales is the only facility in the world dedicated to the care of wild koalas.

The hospital rescues, rehabilitates and, where possible, releases koalas back into their home territory.

The not-for-profit organisation costs about $650,000 per year to run and receives more than 100,000 visitors a year.


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save the koala — don't vote for gladys...

Across NSW koala numbers are dwindling, their disappearance partly blamed on land clearing.

Their survival will be an issue for some NSW voters on Saturday, with land clearing sparking a number of questions from ABC readers. 

Key points:
  • The ABC received 85 questions on land clearing as part of the "You Ask, We Answer" campaign
  • Land clearing laws have been relaxed under NSW's Coalition Government
  • Labor says it will bring land clearing "under control" while the Liberals have a $45 million blueprint to protect koalas


It is reflected by internal Labor and Coalition polling placing the environment in the top five issues for voters for the first time in a state election. 

Of the more than 2,000 questions submitted to the ABC's "You Ask, We Answer" series, almost 300 concerned environmental issues, with 85 specifically focused on land clearing.

It is an issue people are talking about ahead of Saturday's poll.


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functionally extinct...

Today the Australian Koala Foundation announced they believe “there are no more than 80,000 koalas in Australia”, making the species “functionally extinct”.

While this number is dramatically lower than the most recent academic estimates, there’s no doubt koala numbers in many places are in steep decline.

It’s hard to say exactly how many koalas are still remaining in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, but they are highly vulnerable to threats including deforestation, disease and the effects of climate change. 

Once a koala population falls below a critical point it can no longer produce the next generation, leading to extinction.

The term “functionally extinct” can describe a few perilous situations. In one case, it can refer to a species whose population has declined to the point where it can no longer play a significant role in their ecosystem. For example, it has been used to describe dingoes in places where they have become so reduced they have a negligible influence on the species they prey on. 

Dingoes are top predators, and therefore can play a significant role in some ecosystems. Our innocuous, leaf-eating koala cannot be considered a top predator.

For millions of years koalas have been a key part of the health of our eucalyptus forests by eating upper leaves, and on the forest floor, their droppings contribute to important nutrient recycling. Their known fossil records date back approximately 30 million years so they may have once been a food source for megafauna carnivores.

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one of the saddest blind happenings...

A mystery virus is causing one of the country's most unique animals to go blind.

Key points:
  • Lumholtz's tree kangaroos normally live in the rainforest canopy
  • In recent years they have been found disoriented in schools and on roads
  • One theory is the leaves they eat are increasing in toxicity due to weather changes


Lumholtz's tree kangaroos are only found in a small pocket of rainforest in far north Queensland — and most Australians do not even know they exist.

Now, the creatures — which normally nestle high up in the treetops — are being found in odd places on the Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns, including in schools, sheds and in the middle of roads, unable to see and confused.

A researcher has said the loss of the kangaroos' vision was likely caused by a virus potentially caused by changing climatic conditions.


Karen Coombes has been caring for injured tree kangaroos on her property near Malanda, west of Cairns, for two decades.

She studied the species for her PhD and founded the Tree Roo Rescue and Conservation Centre.

Most of the animals in her care are blind.


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ooch! oi! hurt! oye! spikes!....

Lynelle Urquhart's home on a property west of Moonie in outback Queensland is normally quiet, but she has been having trouble sleeping lately, thanks to late-night activity under the floorboards.

"I had to have a sleeping tablet last week, because of all the scratching around through the night," she said.

"Our house is pretty close to the ground, and echidna quills scrape on the floorboards, and when that's under your bed at night it can keep you awake."

It is mating season, and several echidnas have found the perfect love nest underneath the farmhouse.

"I've never met anyone who had to have a sleeping tablet because echidnas were having sex under the house!" Ms Urquhart said.

She said she has counted six echidnas walking around her garden, often oblivious to her.

"In all my time here I've never ever seen this many echidnas at our home," Ms Urquhart said.

"They'd walk in between my legs, and as long as I didn't make a noise they didn't see me as a threat. 

"They probably hang around here because there's a little bit of water left, and the soil is soft enough for them to dig after we've watered a tree. And digging is what echidnas love to do."


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The hedgehog mating ritual is protracted, with the sounds often indistinguishable from human ones. Their most active period is between April and early September.

German police are being called out increasingly often over night-time disturbances, only to discover the noisy offenders are mating hedgehogs, reports The Guardian.

Dozens of noise complaints have been received by emergency services across the country with residents initially grumbling over neighbours having unacceptably loud sex or concerned that some animal might be in pain or suffering. The loud and irritating sounds, however, are often the result of the prickly intruders having sex.

In a sign of how widespread the issue is, Germany now even has a hashtag, #igelsex, which translates as “hedgehog sex”.

Police  arrived at a primary school in Augsburg, outside Munich, to check out odd sounds from a playground and found a pair of mating hedgehogs, while in an incident in Kamenz near Dresden, a fire brigade resorted to a hydraulic spreader to open a charity clothes collection bin that was resonating with loud noises that were reported by concerned residents. The culprits turned out to be mating hedgehogs.

The protracted hedgehog mating ritual, known in German as Igelkarussell, or hedgehog carrousel, can last for hours over a 430 square-foot area. The range of sounds the prickly and innocuous-looking animals make includes hissing, snarling and even screaming.


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Note: Equidnas are not hedgehogs, but monotremes or egg laying mammals... Hedgehogs and equidnas have sharp spines covering their bodies.

save the platypus, the equidna's cousin...

Poor water management of the Murray-Darling Basin combined with a lack of water is to blame for an alarming decrease in platypus numbers in that area, researchers say.

Key points:
  • Scientists at the University of New South Wales have been researching platypus numbers for four years
  • They believe the animal's numbers may have declined by half since Europeans arrived
  • Research points to poor water management in the Murray-Darling Basin as contributing to the problem


Declines in Australia's platypus population have likely been underestimated, and may have halved since Europeans arrived, University of NSW scientists say.

Professor Richard Kingsford and his team from UNSW have been studying the platypus for the past four years. 

"The figures are essentially telling us that there's been this huge decline in platypus numbers over the last 100 to 200 years and we're not really dealing with that," Professor Kingsford says.

The animal has disappeared from large areas, including the Murray-Darling Basin — with no official observations in the last 10 years in half of the catchments of the basin.

The data is concerning for the platypus, with current population estimates ranging from 30,000 to 300,000, report author and PhD candidate Tahneal Hawke said.


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Estimates with a error factor of 1000/100 are bloody useless...

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destroying koalas for consistency...

The Federal Environment Department approved the clearing of more than 75 hectares of critical koala habitat west of Brisbane in breach of its own policy.

Key points:
  • Department of Environment approved clearing of 75 hectares of koala habitat near Ipswich
  • Documents obtained under FoI show the approval was granted against the department's own policy
  • The department said it granted approval to "maintain consistency" with other projects already approved


Documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) reveal two housing developments in the Ipswich area "lacked consistency" with the Environment Department's own policy on environmental offsets.

Nonetheless, the department approved the land clearing in January 2018 "in order to maintain consistency in decision making" with other projects that had already been given the green light.

"That's not good enough," the ACF's Andrew Picone told 7.30.

"The koala is listed as a vulnerable species, it faces a very real risk of extinction.

"If we continue to allow the destruction of its habitat and not even apply the bare minimum of the offset policy requirements, it's likely to go extinct much sooner than people predict."

Environmental scientist Dr Philip Gibbons, from the Australian National University, thinks the department is not doing its job.

"This is a concern because it tells us our own Department of the Environment either doesn't have the desire or it doesn't have the power to protect threatened species such as the koala," he told 7.30.


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important habitats are still at risk of being destroyed...

Conservationists say a New South Wales Government strategy to boost koala numbers in the state isn't working, because important habitats are still at risk of being destroyed.

But a report card prepared for the New South Wales Environment Minister insists progress is being made, with an extra 7,000 hectares of koala habitat now protected.

The goal of the state's koala strategy is to stabilise and then increase the numbers of the marsupial in New South Wales.


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killing rabbits the size of wombats...

A former pest management expert for the Victorian government has spoken out against a “confusing” legal loophole that has left wombats unprotected in some parts of the state.

Nocturnal Wildlife Research director Clive Marks’ comments come amid widespread outrage over revelations first reported in The New Daily that wealthy tourists were being invited to a farm outside Melbourne to hunt the marsupials for sport.

The Murrindindi farm is owned by a Chinese businessman and partner of Crown casino at the centre of an explosive Channel Nine investigation into links between casinos and organised crime.

Dr Marks spent more than 10 years investigating methods of killing wombats and other pest animals for the Victorian government.

Now an independent researcher, he says he can “speak freely” about the inner workings of government that have led to a “confusing” legal loophole that means wombats have no protection in 193 regions (parishes) in Victoria.

“The legislation was an administrative quick fix – it was a real nightmare,” Dr Marks told The New Daily.

He said the Victorian government initially declared wombats vermin because they could charge through rabbit-proof fences at a time when “rabbit plagues were serious all over Australia”.


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their forest is on fire!...

A singed and injured koala and her joey, who have become a symbol of hope and resilience amid Queensland's bushfire emergency, are slowly recovering in a Brisbane wildlife hospital.

Key points:
  • The photo of the koala and joey went viral when they were found by a police officer on Saturday
  • The pair are recovering in the Queensland Wildlife Hospital, among many other animals being looked after
  • Animals including horses are also being treated at the Canungra showgrounds for burns


The koala was rescued by Jimboomba police officer Darren Ward in the Gold Coast hinterland over the weekend.

Acting Senior Sergeant Ward found the koala and her joey in shock, clinging to a branch on the ground.

"There was singeing to the fur, and singeing to the ears … but the baby seemed quite well protected," he said.

The RSPCA's Michael Beatty said the pair was being treated in the Queensland Wildlife Hospital.


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And for every single koala saved, a great number of them have perished...