Although it was claimed that the delay in Tony Burke’s partial koala listing was about a more rigorous scientific assessment, it does seem that if it weren’t for the Vic government, all koalas would have been listed.
In his press release Burke says, “In fact, in some areas in Victoria and South Australia, koalas are eating themselves out of suitable foraging habitat and their numbers need to be managed.“ However, one of the management issues with these koalas is the uncertainty about what may happen to them on coming into contact with koalas that do have Chlamydia.
Burke adds, “But the Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory koala populations are very clearly in trouble, so we must take action.”
Koalas in the ACT are understood to have become extinct around 1900-1910, the same time as those on agricultural land in the Bega Valley. A few captive animals are kept at Tidbinbilla but they haven’t bred up like the Numerella koalas.
There is a question of whether the legislation allows Burke to split species at state boundaries, but more important is the difficulty the TSSC had with the data.
The map revealed as the source of claims about koala distribution shows koalas are everywhere and can only be based on mis-information provided by the NSW government.
It may have been easier for the TSSC to just go to the Atlas of Living Australia. These records indicate that since 2010 there have been no koala sightings in the Victorian section of the bioregion, most are in the catchments from Dignams to Wapengo and there are a few unverified outliers from government sources.