2nd August 2017

Hello Koala Lovers,

Over recent weeks I have been writing and meeting with the Queensland Government about the Koala Expert Panel Report which was supposed to be finished in June (now due in August) and of course about my concerns for Koala declines and the loss of habitat.

AKF has, for years always tried to get up to date information on the Koalas that have been admitted to the Koala hospital facilities and for over the last 12 months officers in the Department were, in my view, very non-helpful.  You could almost call it secretive.  

I met with Minister Steven Miles, Queensland Environment Minister and at last we got a link to the data.

The figures are staggering.

When the AKF submitted a nomination to have the Koala listed under federal laws which happened in May 2012, we submitted the following document.   It showed that 21, 965 had been in hospital since 1996-2011.  It also shows that only 5208 (24%) Koalas were released back into the bush. 

Since 2011, when AKF acquired that information, it has been almost impossible to get the latest updates from both sides of politics. We finally got it. 

<https://data.qld.gov.au/dataset/koala-hospital-data/resource/7c6f7da8-ef7a-48e4-bf4e-c449a885e46d>

For those that are not used to looking at excel spreadsheets; this is just a list of Koalas in a document and the number is now 39, 906.   It has not, like the first graph, been evaluated into what is happening in the bush.  It takes a lot to shock me but I am even more shocked that the data has not been scientifically evaluated.   

In a nutshell, what AKF sees is that from 1996-2011 – 21, 965 Koalas came into hospital and since 2011-2017 another 17, 941 have come in and of course there is no indication of how many went out into the bush.   It would, however be more dead than alive; that is just how it is in Australia today. The Koalas injuries are horrific.   One case even had chemical waste on it.  How in the heck could that happen?  

Now I see that Minister Miles has three ridiculous solutions to save the Koala here in South East Queensland and I imagine his expert panel will either endorse them or thought them up.  

  1. Drones
  2. Sniffer Dogs
  3. Acoustic calls

I took scientific advice about this from my colleagues.  Their advice:

“Their drones and acoustics (and dogs) will be wasted money. Like all other research of this type they will pick out a few areas where they know there are Koalas (so they can make sure the technology works) and then extrapolate to the rest of...what? SEQ? All QLD?” 

There is no mention of curbing development and the destruction of trees.  There is no mention of good mapping.   And worse still there is now talk of “mini zoos”, particularly in Daisy Hill State Forest where the Government has a Visitor Centre and of course the wild Koalas in there languish.

I am now starting to think that the Queensland Government (which is due for an election this year or early next) is just thinking about the Commonwealth Games visitors due in 2018.  Both sides of the political spectrum will have the same thoughts so this is common to all politicians.   You can see in all the press announcements, that our Lord Mayors (those that are not under investigation) are talking about “the greening of South East Queensland” and with mini zoos and a Blue Koala Mascot for the games – my concerns just grow.

All the more reason for a Koala Protection Act – we will get it.   These political leaders that continue to push against the will of the people will be gone sooner than later and you must tell them how you feel.  

Write to Minister Miles ([email protected]), the Premier ([email protected]) and Minister Frydenberg ([email protected]) and ask them to protect the Koalas in their care.  

It is ironic isn’t it that nearly 5 years after the Koala was listed, there is still no Recovery Plan; that is why we need a Koala Protection Act.