In response to the release of the national koala recovery plan, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s national nature campaigner Jess Abrahams said:
“ACF welcomes the release of the long overdue national koala recovery plan.
“This iconic and once ubiquitous species was recently listed as endangered – an idea that would have seemed impossible 20 years ago, but is a sad reflection on the accelerating destruction of nature we are now experiencing.
“The overarching goal of the plan – to stop the decline in koala numbers and increase their habitat – is sound, but the goal must also be to recover koala populations if our grandchildren are to see these lovable creatures in the wild.
“The Morrison government has committed $74m to koalas recently, which is great, but our research shows in the decade since the koala was listed as vulnerable to extinction, the government has approved the destruction of 50,000 hectares of this species’ habitat.
“Previous research by ACF showed the size of koala habitat actually cleared in a five-year period was almost 95% greater than the size that was approved.
“A recent audit office report found the federal government had failed to monitor the effectiveness of species recovery plans. Let’s hope the government has learnt this lesson when it comes to the implementation and monitoring of this plan.
“The two biggest threats to the koala are habitat destruction and climate change and while this plan acknowledges this, it does not adequately address those threats.
“If we want our kids and grandkids to see koalas in the wild, governments must stop approving the bulldozing of their homes for mines and new housing estates.
“Australia needs strong national environment laws and an independent regulator to enforce them,” he said.
Header pic by Arisha Zayan, 10, from the 2021 Wild At Art competition