Yesterday was ANZAC Day - a day where we commemorate those who have fallen in war for freedom and the principles that our country holds dear. Interestingly enough last week we found this image of a "pet koala" in Cairo and I found it quite incredible, really, that an Australian First World War soldier (we often call them Diggers) was able to get it there in the first place and secondly keep it alive. We are trying to find more about this amazing photo.
With 30th April looming and a Minister in a position to finally make a decision on whether the koala gets federal protection, my thoughts go backwards and forwards to why the koala is so important to us as Australians, but also to the world. Even after 25 years, I don't have a clear and concise answer to that - it just "is", isn't it? Then you have to ask the next question why is it so hard to get protection for the koala when it should be a "no brainer", a comment made recently on our Facebook.
Let me predict what Minister Burke is going to do:
- He is going to list the koala in South East Queensland as Endangered (and we know it is already functionally extinct).
- He is going to list the koala on the east of the Dividing Range in New South Wales as Vulnerable - but not on the west, particularly the Gunnedah population because of coal and coal seam gas interests.
- He is going to list the koala in Western Queensland because the science is AKF funded and shows massive declines.
- He is not going to list the koala in Central Queensland because of coal and coal seam gas and the infrastructure that goes with those industries. They are currently listed as Common.
- He is not going to list the koala in Eastern Victoria because of logging interests and in Western Victoria, because they think they are pests. They are currently not listed at all under State legislation.
To be frank I do not think that the federal laws have the capacity to do this but we shall see. I will have more to say after he has made his announcement, but I just wanted this to be on record before Monday. If the AKF is right, then it shows that not only has the political will to protect the koala been thwarted by forces that seek to diminish habitats, but also the field of academia. Scientists somewhere, and we know where, have sat in a room and looked for justification for not listing.
Let the AKF be very clear - the koalas - all of them - in every part of Australia need to be protected by our Governments. It is their birthright - a birthright that all Australians hold dear and many have paid a high price to protect.