A couple of weeks ago, I looked out of my kitchen window towards the neighbouring parkland adjoining the main road and saw what I thought was a small but cumbersome dog lolloping across the road.
On closer inspection, I realised it was a koala. Cars slowed, then stopped. A woman pulled over to one side and took photos.
The little koala made it safely across the busy road and soon clambered up a gum tree.
All good - and all over in five minutes.
In the six years we have lived near this small park on the Queensland Gold Coast we have seen seven or eight koalas there ‘in the wild’. Beautiful creatures.
But their habitat is diminishing as humans take over what used to be their (the koalas’) land and I doubt if we will see many more in ‘our neck of the woods’.
When we lived in Gippsland, Victoria, we could visit Raymond Island and see koalas in many tree-tops. They were not much of a tourist attraction, as such; they just lived there. (Are they still there?)
Way back in the 1960s, a trip to Phillip Island, just off the southern coast of Australia, gave you a good serve of koalas. A quiet stroll into the bush and you’d see koalas everywhere; some low enough on tree branches to allow you to touch them. Sadly, that is no longer.
Over the past 12 months I have been fortunate to have had my fill of koalas. I have seen them up close on three different occasions (not counting our local visitor).
BUT…BUT…The three places I have seen koalas included:
- Port Macquarie Koala hospital
- Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, and
- 'Dreamworld Corroboree' registered zoo.
In these places I have visited, overseas tourists queue up to have photos taken with koalas. But is the time coming when Australia’s own citizens will also have to queue to catch a glimpse of a koala?
Especially now that THEY HAVE BEEN BURNT.
Killed by bushfires.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE?
From the news: “….Officials fear that 30 per cent of the koala colony in New South Wales had been destroyed as 10 million acres of land burnt to the ground in the state.
Nature Conservation Council ecologist Mark Graham told parliament: “[Koalas] really have no capacity to move fast enough to get away [from the flames].
“…“The fires have burnt so hot and so fast that there has been significant mortality of animals in the trees, but there is such a big area now that is still on fire and still burning that we will probably never find the bodies.”..” (Independent)
Then…after Kangaroo Island bushfires: there are “grave fears for unique wildlife after estimated 25,000 koalas killed”.
An estimated (over) 8,000 koalas have died in NSW.
Again, what have we done?
And, it’s not only koalas that have been lost. It’s millions of native animals and insects from bees and beetles, to beautiful native birds, to lizards and gliders to wallabies, wombats and kangaroos. And on it goes. So many burnt. So many gone.
“Nearly half a billion animals have been impacted by the fires in NSW alone, with millions potentially dead”, (according to ecologists at the University of Sydney).
The time has come!
If we don’t act seriously – and SOON – to try to stop Climate Change induced catastrophes, our children and our children’s children will only be able to see our beautiful native animals in museums and on You Tube videos.
There is no denying that Australia’s inability to acknowledge and attend to the catastrophic effects of our rapidly changing climate has, if not caused, then colossally added to, the severity of these calamitous fires.
AND…with “… media-backed corruption right now in regards to Climate Change… we may not move fast enough to save our planet.” (Unfortunately, I mislaid the original source of this crucial statement):
THE TIME HAS COME!
OR, do we accept it’s goodbye, koalas?