Cranky Koala was a busy bear on Wednesday as he hit the hustings in an effort to save his kind.
Cranky, aka Mark Selmes of Mount Rae Forest near Crookwell, was spreading a serious message as he dropped into the Goulburn Wetlands to catch up with FROGS landcarers before enjoying some gumleaf tea at Angels for the Forgotten, a place that looks after the homeless.
Then it was off to Goulburn MP Pru Goward’s office with a letter urging action on Save the Koala day on Friday.
“Us koalas are sick of governments putting money into research and studies,” the letter stated.
“...Stop having photos cuddling us and do something Friday.”
Cranky was raising awareness of the steady decline of koalas numbers and why they are now a listed threatened species in NSW.
“Our governments encourage their ecologists and individuals to “engage local communities in koala conservation, and encourage the NSW community to identify with the koala as a flagship for threatened species conservation,” Mr Selmes said.
“It is clear to this big koala that most people do identify with the koala as a symbol of Australia, and understand their worth in the billion dollars they bring in tourism to this country.
“It’s not that the general public don’t listen, it’s that our politicians don’t. Instead they spend taxpayer money on more research and studies while ignoring the known threats . They make motherhood statements about the environment, pose with cute and cuddly animals and then act in a contradictory manner to scientific facts by granting approvals for clearing where healthy koala populations exist and by making available a long list of exemptions for multinational companies, major developments, open cut mining and native forest logging.
Mr Selmes said all of this contributed to the “known threatening processes of loss of hollow bearing trees for native wildlife, fragmentation of healthy colonies into inbred and diseased ones, and driving koalas into urban areas, onto roads, and into conflict with dogs and vehicles.”
“And of course you can always put some money into an offset scheme to plant some trees for the future somewhere else,” he said.
“This smoke and mirrors attitude to conservation is failing us and our koalas. It’s time for meaningful actions by our politicians. Save the Koala day would be a good time to start.”
But Ms Goward said the government was moving on the Chief Scientist and Engineer’s recommendation to develop a whole-of-government NSW Koala Strategy.
“On the ground, the NSW Government’s $100 million Saving our Species program continues to invest in practical actions to ensure the survival of the iconic koala,” she said.
“The NSW Government has also committed $10 million to acquiring new land for koala conservation over the next five years.”