- The Australian Koala Foundation (AKF) is the international organisation whose prime focus and aim is the long-term conservation and effective management of the wild Koala in Australia.
- The AKF is totally non-government funded.
- The AKF is politically neutral, unbiased and speaks solely for the koala.
- The AKF's mission is to be a highly credible, respected and compassionate international scientific organisation which will diminish the threat to the survival of koalas and be an example so as to increase the consciousness of all global citizens and enable them to reverse the rapid degeneration of all the world's flora and fauna.
Koalas in the wild face a series of threats to their continued survival mostly stemming from destruction of their habitat for human uses and associated threats like cars, dogs and disease.
The continued survival of the species depends on the retention and effective management of suitable habitat to support koalas in the wild. The long-term future of the species cannot be guaranteed in captivity.
Since white settlement of Australia over 80% of the koala's natural habitat has been destroyed and of the remaining 20% almost none is protected. In addition, most of the koala's remaining habitat occurs on privately owned land much of which is 'prime real estate'. Humans compete with koalas for land use throughout much of the koala's range.
The Koala Habitat Atlas is the main ongoing project of the AKF. It is a growing database showing koala habitat at a high resolution on digitally produced maps within local authority boundaries throughout eastern Australia.
The Koala Habitat Atlas has been designed to assist land-use planners by providing much needed information on the occurrence and relative importance of suitable koala habitat so that informed and effective decisions on koala habitat conservation and management can be made.
To achieve its objectives, the Australian Koala Foundation takes the following action:
KOALA HABITAT ATLAS
The Koala Habitat Atlas is a generic term referring to an evolving project which aims to map, identify and quantify koala habitat throughout the koala's geographic range. The project seeks to identify which trees are preferentially used by koalas and to identify and rank koala habitat on a shire by shire basis.
- Approximately $8 million dollars has been allocated to research and conservation projects (including the KHA) by the AKF since its inception in 1986. This provides a scientific base of information on which to make good management decisions for koala conservation.
- Resources are provided to education institutions, groups and individuals. Public awareness generated by ongoing AKF promotion/media releases teaches the general public about koala conservation.
- The AKF aims to engender a feeling of pride and ownership of the Koala amongst global citizens so they will participate in its conservation.The AKF sees its main public service as the provision of scientifically-based and credible public information.
NATIONAL OVERVIEW FOR KOALA GROUPS
- The Australian Koala Foundation seeks to co-ordinate and disseminate information from the many koala groups around the country.
- The AKF does not participate in hands-on koala caring. Its function is to provide an overview, support and advice for carer groups while focusing on conserving the species as a whole.
- The AKF provides the opportunity for all community groups involved in koala conservation to sell its 'Save the Koala' merchandise and keep 50% of profits, in effect underwriting their fund-raising efforts by carrying production and design costs.
ZOOS AND SANCTUARIES - EDUCATION
- The AKF does not regard the keeping of koalas in captivity as conservation. However captive koalas have enormous potential to educate people about conservation and the AKF encourages exhibitors of koalas to incorporate a strong conservation message in their presentation of koalas.
- The AKF does not believe that captive breeding programs for koalas are a solution for conservation of wild koala populations. Conservation of the Koala depends on the integrity of wild populations, their genetic diversity and retention of habitat.
- The AKF is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation which raises funds through sponsorship, Save the Koala Month, Save the Koala tree planting tours, promotions, merchandising, private and public donations to finance its ongoing conservation work.
- The Australian Koala Foundation organises Save the Koala Month (September) annually to raise funds and awareness.
- The Australian Koala Foundation does not receive (nor seeks to receive) Government funding. This gives the AKF the freedom to maintain an independent position on koala matters.