Some good news for the Koala, and other animals too. Many Australians woke up yesterday to the news that the Australian Federal Government might actually be taking environmental protection seriously.Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek set the aspirational goal of ‘no new extinctions’ with the hope of turning round Australia’s abysmal environmental record.
It’s about time.
The Koala is not a Bear
Before I discuss that, I just want to point out that contrary to popular myth, the Koala is not a bear. It is in fact, a tree-climbing marsupial and is a closer relative to the wombat than it is to a bear.
If we’re going to protect our wildlife then we need to be clear on exactly what it is we’re saving, and the koala is at great risk right now.
Abysmal Environmental Record
A 2019 UN report on biodiversity found human activities are impacting flora and fauna more than at any other time in human history. Globally, extinction is looming for over 1 million species. Australia has over 1,900 threatened species and the dubious reputation of the worst mammal extinction rate in the world. Even with today’s policy change you certainly wouldn’t want to be a koala right now. Or a greater glider, regent honeyeater, or dugong.
A Global Problem
So, how are they going to do it? Back in 2021, at the One Planet Summit, 50 countries vowed to protect 30% of their land and sea territories by 2030. Australia wasn’t one of them. This week, Australia has joined the party and pledged the same. It’s a great first step because we all know, if we are to protect threatened species, we first have to protect their homes.
Koala and Conservation Funding
Basha Stasak, nature program manager of the Australian Conservation Foundation estimates this new goal will require $1.69 billion per year, but the Feds have committed only $224.5 million. Let’s hope Tanya has big pockets.
Policy Needs To Change
Policy also needs an overhaul if we are to protect our greatest heritage. The government is planning to introduce new environmental laws next year and they can’t come soon enough. As Plibersek told the told The Guardian, “Our current approach has not been working. If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’ll keep getting the same results.”
Can You Help Save The Koala?
The simple answer is…yes.Apart from learning as much as you can about them, their habitat and lifestyle by visiting such sites as the Queensland Koala Society Inc, the easiest way is to just keep your eyes open and let someone know if you happen to see koala’s in distress or in danger.The more we see them, the more we’ll see of them.