Echonetdaily BYRON BAY. August 21st, 2012

Crunch time for koalas

Sue Arnold, Australians for Animals Inc

The ABC 4 Corners documentary was, as usual, lightweight and poorly researched.

In fact the situation facing koala survival is much worse than reported. It’s astonishing that the Four Corners team should rely on so-called experts who have been and are responsible for supporting development in critical koala habitats.

What’s even more astonishing is the failure of the doco to inform the viewers that the federal government has known about the koala crisis since l998, when my group successfully listed the koala under the US Endangered Species Act as threatened.

Nor was the important role of koalas in the ecosystem even hinted at, including their reliance on local ecosystems and the unique way the dietary needs are transferred from mother to cub.

The program completely failed to acknowledge that it was a massive effort by grassroots groups in NSW, Queensland and Victoria at senate hearings that finally resulted in the koala’s being listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act – which basically is not going to hold up development and more destruction of their habitat. Tony Burke’s hypocrisy is evident on a daily basis.

Locally, the work of wildlife carers and the Lismore-based Friends of the Koala is a heroic effort to save the species.

At Yelgun and Tyagarah, the local koala populations are struggling to survive. Approvals by the state government for huge festivals and more intrusion into their habitat will have serious, if not deadly, impacts on the remaining animals.

The 4 Corners doco got one thing right. Politicians at every level can take responsibility for the looming demise of this iconic species.

As always, it’s greed and a completely irresponsible attitude to protecting the environment that rules. So shameful and sad.

Please support local carers, support the Port Macquarie koala hospital who do amazing work. Support Team Koala and Lismore Friends of Koala.

This is crunch time.

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