Optimistic science, only the good news for koalas

On the first day of 2013 the Washington Post published an article about why humans are generally over optimistic. According to the research  “. . . Optimism starts with what may be the most extraordinary of human talents: mental time travel, the ability to move back and forth through time and space in one’s mind”. Most people have greater optimism in their own family as opposed to anyone else’s family and  “. . . people of all age groups changed their beliefs more in response to good news, and discounted bad news.”

To the north and also on Jan 1 the Eurobodalla koala project released its final report with the Narooma News reporting Coordinator Keith Joliffe saying ” . . .“Serious collaborative action between private landholders, government agencies, researchers and community groups is urgently required if koalas are ever to be seen again in the wild inside the Eurobodalla’s borders.”

Tragically the report makes no mention of soil landscapes and based on tree species distribution suggests that pretty well everywhere is suitable koala habitat, just like the government agencies do. Although the report mentions catchments it also suggests, based on an internal NSW government report written koala project manager Chris Allen, that there are no wild koalas inside the Eurobodalla Shire. The koalas in the Dignams Creek catchment, less than half of which is in Eurobodalla and the rest in Bega Shire, are allegedly all in the latter area.

There is also reference to ‘the translocation issue’ and a ‘ … Bega Valley Shire translocation feasibility study not yet made public.’  In that regard, to the west, the Rural Fire Service reports around 10,000 hectares have so far been burned in a wildfire around Numeralla and it seems likely that many of the koalas in the area will have perished.

Without plenty of rain this fire has the potential to travel through to the coast so some New Year’s optimism is required, about the weather and whether, given any bad news will be discounted, the various stakeholder families will take on some positive environmental information like catchments and soils and change some beliefs.


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