FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
PRESS RELEASE Thursday July 24 2014
Friends of the Earth today released a new report on koalas and plantations.
“The report hopes to shed some new light on this disastrous situation” said Friends of the Earth spokesperson Anthony Amis.
Almost two hundred thousand hectares of bluegum plantations/new koala habitat was planted out in South West Victoria during the MIS era (between 1996 - 2010). With these plantations now being logged any koalas inside the plantation will either be injured or killed during logging, or most likely starve to death once the plantations are logged.
The issue made major news last year, so much so that a petition, organised by German group Rainforest Rescue, containing 85,000 signatures was delivered to the State Environment Minister Ryan Smith.
Although new procedures adopted by bluegum companies may reduce initial koala deaths and injuries, there remains the intractable problem of what happens to the thousands of koalas which may eventually be displaced. There is simply not enough remaining habitat for these animals to be released into.
This koala problem follows on from overpopulation issues in south western Victoria in the past. A major problem appears to be that koalas from south western Victoria are descendents of translocated animals. Many of these translocated animals did not suffer from the natural control mechanisms that natural populations do. The translocated animals tend to go through unnatural boom and bust cycles. This has been accentuated through the planting of hundreds of thousands of hectares of new habitat.
The report also discusses similar plantation and koala problems which have befallen Victoria's only endemic koala population located in the Strzelecki Ranges for many years. Potentially hundreds of Strzelecki koalas have been killed over the past decade due to logging and loss of habitat. Strzelecki koalas have recently been killed in bluegum plantations. Logging of pine plantations could also see the deaths of many animals.
The Victorian Government refuses to implement further protection measures for Koalas, as they believe that there is a healthy population. This does not take into account the dire predicament of the Strzelecki Koala which lost 40% of its available habitat in the 2009 bushfires.
The new report can be found at: http://www.foe.org.au/sites/default/files/PlantationKoalas2014.pdf
For more details contact Anthony Amis on 0425 841 564.
For further information including donation information contact: [email protected]
All donations will go into surveys in the Strzeleckis and materials for western Victoria.