Australia’s Koalas are in Crisis.
The devastating ‘Black Summer’ bushfires decimated koala populations, and resulted in the death of more than 3 billion native animals.
Victoria’s endemic species of koala, the Strzelecki Koala, is the only remnant population of koala in Victoria and South Australia.
Their population is however under threat and does not have the adequate protections to ensure their survival.
But just a few hours from Melbourne, Friends of the Earth have been conducting research into a little-known population of Victorian koalas which may hold an important key for the species’ survival.
The gene pool of the Strzelecki Koala remains intact, unlike all other Victorian and South Australian koala populations. With population numbers declining elsewhere across the country, Ensuring the long-term survival of the Strzelecki Koala could help save one of Australia’s most treasured animals.
Although genetically robust, the Strzelecki Koala is extremely vulnerable. Burn-offs, tree felling and road deaths are a day to day threat, and much more work needs to be done to enshrine their protection under Victorian legislation.
There are possibly only 1500 Strzelecki Koalas remaining in the wild.
To protect the Strzelecki Koala, and better understand how this special species can support the recovery of other koala populations, Friends of the Earth needs to know more about them.
Over the past 6 months FoE has surveyed over 5000ha of Strzelecki Koala Habitat. But we need to do more.
The scientific surveys funded by your donations will contribute to national research efforts to better understand koalas and plan for their preservation.
These surveys will help researchers to understand where koalas live, what they eat, how they behave, and how many remain in the wild.
The next few years are critical for the koala's survival. When we identify key areas of koala habitat, we can lobby for greater protection of these areas.
We will need to continue this work with local communities, koala experts and governments to create a comprehensive plan to ensure long term survival plan of koalas in the Strzelecki region and across Australia.
All koalas should be protected equally under Australian and state environmental laws. Koalas are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction in NSW, QLD and the ACT, but not Victoria.
The Strzelecki Koala needs strengthened protections under Victorian environmental laws.
We need to ensure this special koala is given greater protections under the Victorian Wildlife Act (1975) and the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988). It needs to be listed Federally under the EPBC Act.
We need to act now to protect this species from extinction.
Koalas across the country were already endangered. A forecast of hotter and longer fire seasons and continued habitat destruction will mean that the koala is heading towards extinction within this century.
It does not have to end this way for Australia's Koalas.
To ensure their survival we know that we need to take urgent action to protect the surviving populations and defend their precious habitat from logging, deforestation and fire.