14th September 2015

On Friday, the AKF was sent some unsettling photographs.  Warning - they are slightly graphic. Click here to view them.

You would have noticed that there is a wound that looks like a bullet hole. The area is in a contentious site of Australia where industry and the environment has clashed.

I asked a local farmer to have a look at the images, and he believed it was a .22 rifle that caused the wound.

If that is the case, then either State Government or Federal laws should have intervened. Although I knew it was unlikely that a culprit would be apprehended, after my experience on Friday I now know that the system is completely broken and totally incapable of protecting this Koala or others. 

I rang the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) (the supposed custodian of the Koala) only to be told that there was no officer available in that Department (this office is about 30 minutes from the dead Koala) that handles the environment. They suggested we contact their Koala researcher (he is in Sydney in Head Office – more than 6 hours by car). I then rang a closer office (about 1 ½ hours from the Koala), only to be told that they could not help me either. I was told to ring “Compliance”, which is 3 hours from the Koala. “Compliance” was not helpful until I encouraged her with media intervention after she told me to “ring the Police”.

I explained that the Police have no jurisdiction in the matter because it is a federally listed species. That was confirmed by a Regional Manager late Friday. He also said that the Koala had had a post mortem and that the results were “inconclusive” to whether it was a bullet wound or not.

Dr Douglas Kerlin wrote to Minister Hunt asking him what his compliance team would do in circumstances like this and I presume it might be 5 months before we receive a reply, like his reply about the culling of Koalas in Victoria earlier this year.

In our Briefing Documents to 128 Federal Politicians 'Imagine Australia With No Koalas', there is a forestry essay entitled “How Did This Koala Get Cut in Half?”. That post mortem was “inconclusive” too. That post mortem revealed it might have been a 'powerful owl' that had cut this Koala so perfectly in half. Not one of these ugly merchandisers. 

This week, AKF will write again to those politicians with their score card about whether they support a Koala Protection Act. To date, 7 have replied. That means 121 of them do not regard the Koala as their constituent. This is sobering indeed.

By and large they have not answered the question - do you support a Koala Protection Act?  Yes or No.

What they have done is sent my letter to Minister Hunt for his opinion, or rationalised that the Koala was listed in May 2012, or worse still said we gave $300,000 to a researcher in 2012 so everything should be fine.

We did try and find that researcher and we were told “yes, I seem to remember that person being around here a couple of years ago, but have not seen her since”.

Since I last wrote, and although I said we were never do it again, Douglas has written yet another Senate document because the concerns about changing third party rights for people to object to projects that might harm the environment as so dire – we had to take the time. 

We need a Koala Protection Act.   

Finally, how did this Koala get the post mortem it deserved in the end? I would like to think that because I personally rang NSW Minister for the Environment, Mark Speakman’s office, that the bureaucracy was set in motion. The Koala was picked up from a property and by that time it was starting to decompose (another potential reason for inconclusive) and was taken to a local Vet. I have been told it is now in a fridge and will be sent somewhere else.

So, if someone is killing Koalas then no custodian is watching.

AKF is watching and we can only do that because of you, our supporters.

Write to Minister Hunt saying you want a Koala Protection Act and join the Koala Army – the letter writing has begun.

 

Kindest regards,

Deborah