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Aaron Runs 27km for Strzelecki Koala (plus other SKAT updates)

Aaron Abbott, brother of the late Lachlan Abbott runs 27km on March 27 to raise much needed funds for the Strzelecki Koala and as a tribute to his late brother who was tragically killed in a vehicle accident in late 2023. The run started at Basil Oval Malvern East at 9am and took Aaron about 3 1/2 hours to complete.

Aaron (in centre) and his support team at Basil Oval before the run began.

The first $1000 donated will go to Friends of Gippsland Bush for rescue and rehab of Strzelecki Koalas.  Anything over $1000 will go to the Strzelecki Koala Action Team (FOE) and Lachlan's Mullungdung Foundation fund.
Anthony with the Woodside Landcare Group in Mullungdung
In terms of Mullungdung, Anthony Amis spoke to the Woodside Landcare Group in late February and took the group into Mullungdung forest to explain how koala surveys are done. Anthony spoke about FoE's push to make Mullungdung State Forest a koala reserve. Victoria's Environment Minister, Steve Dimopoulos is now aware of the reserve push due to letters being sent from the Woodside group and a more detailed letter sent by FoE on March 26th. FoE will be starting a more concerted push to have Mullungdung reserved over the next month.
The senescing big tree in the Franklin River catchment of the Strzelecki Ranges.
SKAT also conducted a site visit to the Strzelecki's in early March. We visited the 'Big Tree' Victoria's largest tree by girth and saw some of the recent storm damage that occurred in February. The visit also revealed to members of SKAT the lack of Preferred Koala Feed Trees in the Strzelecki's. In some areas, you could count the number of PKFT's on one hand. Without these key species, koala numbers will be greatly diminished (or non-existent). Biolink stated in their 2023 report that the State Government has overestimated the number of koalas in Strzelecki Wet Forests by 400% largely due to not factoring the lack of PKFT's in those ex Mountain Ash dominated forests (now being converted to pine plantations).
Recent logging of hardwoods in the Morwell River East Branch area of the Strzelecki Ranges. Tens of thousands of hectares of hardwood 'plantations' are now being replanted to pine plantations. Logging won't stop in the Strzelecki's this century. What chance does a koala have in a landscape such as this? Plantations don't allow the land to heal and certainly don't allow for the re-estabishment of Preferred Koala Feed Trees and linking corridors. The recent decision to stop native forest logging in Eastern Victoria was in part based on allowing the continued logging and conversion of tens of thousands of hectares of hardwoods in the Strzelecki's. The major impact of this policy will be worn by the Strzelecki Koala, the only genetically robust koala population remaining in Victoria and South Australia and one of the most important koala populations in the world.
We didn't even see a koala until our very last stop at Budgeree in a small, isolated stand of bluegums.

Aaron completes his 27km run in less than 4 hours. Great Job!
SKAT meets on the first tuesday of every second month. Mullungdung is one of our two major goals for 2024, the other being the handback of 3000ha of land to be added to the Brataualung Forest Park sometime in 2024. We've also set up a chuffed donation page for anyone wanting to bring these reserves to fruition.
For more details contact [email protected]


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