Sharing koala risks and options

The Office of Environment and Heritage has recently updated their koala website pages, although it’s not much different from past efforts. For example, they suggest that “The koala is the only animal that eats eucalyptus leaves” but, contradict this claim on the Glider page with the statement – “The greater glider, however, feeds almost entirely on eucalypt leaves” 

While such inconsistencies can be expected other OE&H information is a bit more confounding, like Chris Allen’s draft report on the tablelands koalas, apparently released in May and based on surveys undertaken to assist the NSW RFS in planning for fuel reduction burns, it states that:

” . . . Other indications of the uniqueness of this population are the rugged and generally infertile country and high altitudes in which these koalas occur, and the fact that two unique genotypes have been identified from genetic analysis of samples gathered during the survey.

Having ‘two unique genotypes’ in a single population is a tad bizarre and if it’s true means  the revised boundaries of the proposed Local Land Services areas will include four ‘lots’ of genetically different koalas.

Not surprisingly, this information seems of little interest to members of the traditional conservation movement who are putting their support behind what they call the ‘Great Southern Koala Sanctuary’. This proposal is also a bit confounding as it acknowledges ‘many forests are degraded’ but proposes ‘corridor planting by private landowners’.

Ultimately and although it may not feel comfortable, any attempts to help koalas, given forest are in decline globally, has to be at a local scale and with an understanding of both how and why the environment  has changed.

Much like the baby swallows below, pictured just before leaving the security of their nest,  there are times when change must happen, irrespective of the risk and because the options for koalas and people, further soil and catchment degradation, are unacceptable.

cropped swallows

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