Koalas will be listed as an endangered species in some areas in Australia from Monday 30th April 2012. The decision not to list the animal as an endangered species across the whole country is because the government is putting mining interests before protecting the marsupial, according some environmental groups.
Australia’s iconic animal is dwindling because of pressures on its habitat by humans, drought and climate change, together with threats as vehicles, dogs and the disease caused by chlamydia. Therefore the Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke is expected to decide to list the national icon, the Koala, as an endangered species. But the ruling will not cover the whole of Australia, as he is expected to list koalas in South-East Queensland as “endangered” and those in east New South Wales as “vulnerable” based on advice from the national Threatened Species Scientific Committee.
Deborah Tabart, Australian Koala Foundation »
If listed as an endangered species, koalas, a marsupial native to Australia will get federal protection. This would mean the government could put conditions on plans for new mines, housing developments and logging operations to protect koalas. But Deborah Tabart from the Australian Koala Foundation believes that this protection is not enough:“Minister Burke has already foreshadowed that he is not going to protect koalas across the whole landscape. Because I have been in my job for so long and I sat through the senate enquiries last year, I know industry is afraid of a listing and I know they have lobbied very hard. The logging industry, the development industry and forestry all pleaded with the senators last year, please do not list. If Minister Burke comes out with strong protection for koalas then I will just retire. But, I really believe that it should be all or nothing and I don’t understand why he’s choosing which koalas to list and which ones he’s not going to. I think it’s going to be nonsense.”
Burke said: ”We know that koalas are under pressure in some parts of Australia while they are abundant in others. But I can’t provide a blanket threatened species listing across Australia when there are many places where koala numbers remain high.”
There are less than 80,000 koalas left in the wild, which are now under combined pressures of habitat destruction and climate change. Research has also suggested that since 1993 the number of koalas in Australia have declined by 75%.
According the news service of ‘Yahoo!7 News’ they discovered with a Right to Information investigation that relevant information from the draft version of the report Koala Coast – Koala Population Report 2010 was excluded from the final version. The prediction which said “population trends indicate that there will be too few koalas in the Koala Coast by 2013, to have an effectively functioning population” was removed from the final report. The director of Koala Policy & Operations Branch from Queensland government said the report was the inappropriate vehicle for predictions as “…the report should contain no conjecture about future trends, as it’s just that: simplistic conjecture and unsupported hypothesis”. The State government denies the report was manipulated to cover up the outlook.
See 7 News’ news item, where they reveal their discoveries.
The above news item is reprinted from materials available at International Business Times TV and TNT magazine. Original text may be edited for content and length