11 APRIL 2011

May 3 is shaping up to be very important for koalas. It is my understanding the Senate Inquiry Committee will be holding session here in Brisbane on that date. As yet I have no other information about what will happen but will keep you informed. For those that have read AKF’s submission, you will know that getting trees protected and the EPBC Act listing are essential outcomes from our perspective.

On March 31st our KoalaMap was launched. Now everyone in Australia can see whether they live in Koala habitat or whether they do not. At the launch, I was just incredibly relieved that nearly 25 years of hard work has now culminated in the release of these maps. It is the boldest thing we have ever done and I think I am starting to understand why Government would never dare. Because you might be wrong. Last week we had a journalist contact us because some habitat was being bulldozed and of course if you look at KoalaMap, the habitat is still there, because the underlying maps always have a lag time to catch up. It shows to me that KoalaMap and the Koala Habitat Atlas projects that underpin it will be a never ending story and one that AKF can refine and refine and refine into the future. I can see that the more we understand these maps and the more people feed back to us, the better they will become.

To our members, I am so looking forward to being able to show you pictures and videos of koalas sent in and logged onto KoalaMap. I am hoping that you will see their importance to the everyday Australian who will need information like this to protect their properties from the very real pressures of developing, logging, coal seam gas and coal mining, which I find is rampant right now in our country.

Mr. Darcy and I have done a lot of miles in recent weeks and I am continually amazed that maps like KoalaMap are not being used in the process for decisions that will effect generations to come. One bureaucrat told me quite proudly that maps like ours do not need to be used and in fact all environmental legislation is extinguished in the exploration phase of a project for coal and coal seam gas in the bush. I used to think the bush on the west of the Dividing Range of Australia was safe, but I can now see that our work is even more important than ever. KoalaMap is free and we are asking people who visit to make a donation to keep them live and secure well into the future. If you would like to support KoalaMap make a donation here.

AKF is 25 years old this year and we intend to celebrate on Save the Koala Day 30th September. We are going to have a wonderful function, somewhere, someplace and we looking for great ideas to celebrate our quarter century. Let me know what you think would be good to do to mark this marvellous achievement.

Now to the next 25 years. At our recent Strategic Planning meeting, I asked staff and Board to consider what will AKF look like in 25 years time, when we are 50. We need to think this through. The next 25 years are going to be a great challenge for all of us on the planet and as always I believe the beautiful and gentle koalas can lead us to a sustainable future. As I prepare the new financial budgets I realise that so much has changed from our fledgling organisation in 1986. Our Founders were very visionary to realise that the koala would need an organisation like ours. Thank you for allowing us to continue this vital work.

Prince William and his fiancé Kate are getting married on the 29th April and we have sent them a koala gift. Help the koala by celebrating with them. Perhaps you can have a “wedding party” and raise funds for KoalaMap.

Weddings are a gorgeous time in people’s lives and we must all not forget that this wonderful planet of ours is still beautiful, vibrant and filled with love and generosity.

Until next time.