Interim Report on failing koala protection fails to deliver

MEDIA RELEASE for immediate release: 10 March 2017

The release of an Interim Report from the Southeast Queensland Koala Expert Panel has failed to deliver any hope for the State’s faunal emblem, according to the Queensland Conservation Council.

The peak state environment group has expressed its deep disappointment with the report, which details how past strategies have not achieved much, but offers little by way of new approaches and ideas.

The Koala Expert Panel has indicated its main focus is on “better mapping of habitat”, which is already known to be dwindling, and “better monitoring of koala population”, which is like watching a train crash in slow motion.  As a last resort, it is also now calling for a second reserve on the northside of Brisbane to complement the Daisy Hill reserve on the southside.

Up to 80% of the koala population in Southeast Queensland has been lost according to recent research, due to destruction of woodland habitat, and traffic issues and domestic dog attacks. The report implicitly acknowledges that there is a real risk that the koala will become extinct in the wild in Southeast Queensland in coming years.

“This Interim Report on failing koala protection itself fails to deliver,” said head of the Queensland Conservation Council, Dr Tim Seelig.

“The koala - which is Queensland’s official animal emblem – is now close to extinction in the wild in Southeast Queensland.  Past strategies have failed to arrest the population decline.

“Whilst better mapping of habitat and monitoring is always helpful, to have this as the main recommended approaches is essentially throwing in the towel on proactively saving the koala in the wild.  The koala in Southeast Queensland deserves better than to become merely an attraction in zoos and reserves.

“The Koala should now be formally declared Endangered in Southeast Queensland. It is tragic that this should have become necessary, but it will at least indicate publicly how dire the situation now is.

“There also needs to be an immediate moratorium on any clearing of koala habitat within the Southeast Queensland region, at least until proper mapping has been incorporated into state and local government plans.  Those plans must deliver on strong environmental protections.

“Given the dire situation right now, such a moratorium will likely need to remain in place for some time to protect remaining koala habitat.”

Queensland Conservation Council has raised these proposals in relation to the new SEQ Regional Plan, and made a detailed submission to the Koala Expert Panel in 2016, available at: http://www.queenslandconservation.org.au/submission_on_protection_of_the_koala

 

For further information or comment contact:

Queensland Conservation Council Coordinator Dr Tim Seelig on 0439 201 183

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