Changing their game

As a result of contacting the co-ordinator of the Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness’s Bermagui Bioblitz, Libby Hepburn, I understand NPWS koala expert Chris Allen will only be attending on the Friday, as his son is getting married on the Saturday.

Libby kindly forwarded the survey descriptions and timetables, available on the ALCW website, although there is no reference to Chris Allen or koala surveys. In that regard I also forwarded a link to suggestions about how the koala surveys could be improved, cc’d to Chris Allen, such that they provide data that is more relevant to local environmental conditions and concerns.

One of several former/current Forests NSW employees leading bioblitz activities is Dr Jim Shields. Shields occupied FNSW’s position on the NSW Scientific Committee in 2007, when they rejected the nomination to list koalas from Dignams to Wapengo as an endangered population.

More recently Dr Shields announced the first successful use of his specially trained koala dog Oscar, after the dog didn’t find any evidence of koalas, so Chris Allen could burn an area as part of the recovery program for ‘island koalas’ on the tablelands.

The activities former/current Forests NSW employees are leading for the bioblitz include FNSW’s normal management, nocturnal surveys (spotlighting, callback), netting bats and birds and trapping small animals.

While supportive of attempts to involve the community in environmental monitoring, such involvement requires locally relevant survey methods and need to be part of what the NSW agencies avoid, broader monitoring efforts within an ESFM framework, as recommended by the Queensland Flood Inquiry.  More on these issues in future posts.

In the interim and with just over four weeks until Minister Burke announces his koala decision, evidence that the NSW Government has a desire to help koalas will remain elusive, because they see no need to change or lift, their game.

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