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Overdevelopment pushes koala closer to extinction - What is Environment Minister Tony Burke doing about this?

"Minister Burke has ruled out protection for all koalas and we are concerned these northwest NSW koala populations may be left off the threatened species list, even while their populations are falling dangerously low." Zoologist David Paull: 75 per cent decline in the relative abundance of koalas in the Pilliga from 1993 to 2011. Estimates only 500 to 2000 koalas left in the area. “The spread of mines and gas wells, tree kills from coal seam gas spills and increased vehicles through the Pilliga Forest will likely put extra strain on these already declining koala populations." Wilderness Society, 29 April 2012.(This article elevates to an article a comment "Media Release - The Wilderness Society on Koalas," posted by Bandicoot on April 29-2012.)

Koalas must be included on the national threatened species list as part of Environment Minister Tony Burke's 30 April announcement, especially in NSW’s Gunnedah region and the Pilliga Forest where they face the additional threat of expanding coal mining and coal seam gas operations, according to the Wilderness Society.

“Koalas need to be protected across Australia as they are rapidly declining in numbers, especially in the Pilliga Forest, where three- quarters of the population has been wiped since 2000,” Naomi Hogan of the Wilderness Society said today.

"Minister Burke has ruled out protection for all koalas and we are concerned these northwest NSW koala populations may be left off the threatened species list, even while their populations are falling dangerously low.

“Gunnedah is known as the ‘Koala Capital of the World’, yet recent scientific studies show koala numbers across the region and in the nearby Pilliga Forest are seriously declining.”

Zoologist David Paull has recorded a 75 per cent decline in the relative abundance of koalas in the Pilliga from 1993 to 2011. He said the population was relatively stable until 2000 and estimates there are only 500 to 2000 koalas left in the area.

“In 1993 I would take tours through the Pilliga and we would always see koalas, the river banks would be teeming with female koalas with babies on their backs,” said zoologist David Paull, an associate of the University of New England. “Now, you are lucky to see them.”

Miss Hogan continued: “These northwest NSW koala hotspots are the target of very rapid and aggressive coal seam gas and coal mining expansion. The Pilliga Forest is covered by a proposal for the largest coal seam gas field in NSW, while the Liverpool Plains are threatened
by coal seam gas pilot wells at Spring Ridge and Marys Mount. Koalas in Leard State Forest are facing three enormous open-cut coal mines.

“The spread of mines and gas wells, tree kills from coal seam gas spills and increased vehicles through the Pilliga Forest will likely put extra strain on these already declining koala populations.

“The 2011 Senate Inquiry into koalas recognised the major threats to Koalas are habitat degradation, vehicle strikes and fire – all of which are likely to increase in the Pilliga Forest, Liverpool Plains and Gunnedah areas if coal seam gas mining proceeds.

“Koalas are an Australian icon that deserves Federal protection.” Contact Naomi Hogan, The Wilderness Society Newcastle: 0401 650 411
David Paull, Zoologist in the Pilliga Forest: 0424 252 244
Prue Bodsworth, The Wilderness Society Newcastle: 0427 417 870

PS: Tony Burke wants to exclude the latest modern threat to koala's from an overall protective status, yet they are a national, world-wide recognizable native animal? The Koala Capital's exclusion for coal seam mining would make mockery of any threatened status!

Partial Source: Media Release -The Wilderness Society on Koalas
On April 29th, 2012
Three-quarter of Koala population wiped out

Comments

Koalas have been listed as "vulnerable" in some parts of Australia but not in others. It's a welcome step for advocates, but it's not an overall status. At-risk koala populations in NSW, Queensland and the ACT would be included on the national list of threatened species. Developers will have to account for koala populations now, but they've had it too good for too long. They are often blamed for the devastation, but it's aggressive human population growth in Australia - driven by high immigration levels - that's behind their power.

Victoria's koalas are not included. Koala numbers in Victoria's Grampians National Park, in the state's west, and at Mount Macedon, northwest of Melbourne, were declining. Except for some colonies in Gippsland, Victoria's koalas are vulnerable to disease due to inbreeding. They can be traced back to a few individuals after rampant hunting up to early last century.

Mr Burke said in some areas of Victoria and South Australia, there were large populations of koalas that were eating themselves out of their habitats. Maybe that's not because they are over-eating and gorging themselves, but because of dwindling habitats. Many individual populations, including Phillip Island's, are are under threat from habitat loss, dog attacks, and cars. Over-browsing has become a serious environmental and animal welfare problem in six isolated habitat patches across coastal Victoria. Habitat is rapidly running out, and alternatives to translocation are urgently required. In disease-free populations which have been moved to areas where they were not native or where there is not enough habitat to support them (such as on some islands off Victoria and Kangaroo Island in South Australia), problems with overpopulation have arisen because of this unnatural situation.

As a national animal, it would be logical to give an overall protection status, nation-wide. However, it's a step forward in koala protection. Australia's mammal extinction record is the worst in the modern world, and another animal added as "vulnerable" or "threatened" is indicative of Australia's environmental record.

The Pilliga Forest in northern New South Wales is critical surviving habitat for the now "vulnerable" Koala species.
Numbers less than 20 years ago were 10,000 in the Pilliga. Last count they were just 1000.

Why?

Coal Seam Gas and its koala habitat destruction.
Who is behind it?
SANTOS
Santos Centre
60 Flinders Street
Adelaide

Read about Koalas' Pilliga Plight: 'THREE-QUARTERS OF KOALA POPULATION WIPED OUT'

Want to stop Koala killing?
STOP SANTOS!

This is the current Board of Directors:

Peter Roland Coates
David John Wissler Knox
Kenneth Charles Borda
Kenneth Alfred Dean
Roy Alexander Franklin
Richard Michael Harding
Gregory John Walton Martin
Jane Sharman Hemstritch
Andrew Seaton
James Baulderstone
Peter Cleary
Petrina Coventry
Trevor Brown
Diana Hoff
John Anderson
Martyn Eames
Mark Macfarlane
Christian Paech
David Lim

..Sik Em!

“Koalas must be included on the national threatened species list- especially in NSW’s Gunnedah region and the Pilliga Forest where they face the additional threat of expanding coal mining and coal seam gas operations..."

Tigerquoll
Suggan Buggan
Snowy River Region
Victoria
Australia

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said the listing of koalas as a threatened species would add "unnecessary green tape" for developers. He is proving no better than his wildlife-hating predecessor, Anna Bligh! After millions of year of evolution and peaceful existence in Australia, he dismisses koalas a nothing more than "unnecessary green tape"!

The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) says the listing of koalas as a threatened species in Queensland will create unnecessary delays for developers. Developers are the protected species in Queensland, not native animals!

Already Australia has the shame of the largest mammal extinction rate since European Settlement. Koala's are slow-moving and slow-evolving and can't compete with developers and mining companies with big budgets and large, monolithic political power!
Just how much more population growth is to be allowed in Queensland? Until the coast becomes fixed and concreted with wall-to-wall housing estates?

"This Government has already inherited strong protection for koalas that we intended to bolster with an investment to actually protect them," Mr Newman said. Why have their numbers plummeted to dangerously low levels then?

Our wildlife are fighting for survival against the aggression of human population growth. Mr Newman said he feared further hardship for construction workers already feeling the pinch amid sluggish development rates. There are limits to growth, and these construction workers shouldn't be at the coal-face of koala habitat destruction.