Conserving Koala Country

Conserving Koala Country

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Seeing the positives....

The last few months have been tough and it is only too easy to dwell on the negatives of the situation we have been dealing with.  However, in looking at the ‘negatives’, I’ve also realised that there are many ‘positives’….
. The passion of Earthwatchers

Earthwatch group, November 2013
I am humbled by your passion for the environment and willingness to give up your time and money to help with this research.  To my latest Earthwatchers (Doug, Pam, Deb, Lynette, Jim and Annie), you witnessed some unpleasant stuff and we shared some tears along with the laughs, but you soldiered on and helped collect some really important data.  Nine sites surveyed, daily radiotracking, eight koalas caught, seed and koala poo collected, data entered…. lots accomplished! You are truly wonderful and inspirational people.  THANK YOU!  I am glad that you each got to ‘mind’ Sally’s joey for me.
'It's a boy'. Annie with Sally's joey

. The support of Earthwatch
Kirsty, THANK YOU for helping with this latest trip.  It wasn’t an easy situation to have to deal with on your first koala trip but you were a rock for me.  Always smiling, and willing to do whatever had to be done.  I’m guessing that you might think twice about volunteering for the Aire River survey again?  Cass, THANK YOU for listening to my rants, and for waiting patiently for the revised briefing.

Kirsty didn't sit down often...

. My Bimbi Park family
I love you all (including Jak of course!), and thank you for welcoming me into your family.  Frank – I am still chuckling over our early morning koala catching during this last trip.  I’m not sure that the vet liked arriving each day to find six or so koalas already in bags for them J
Frank's pizzas are always a highlight

. DEPI staff who have come to our aid
You are working incredibly hard and I know that like the rest of us, you have found the reality of this situation difficult to deal with.  THANK YOU for caring.  You have given us hope.

. The landholders of Cape Otway

The old saying ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ comes to mind.  You are an incredible group of people and I’m honoured to join you as a member of the ‘Save Cape Otway Alliance’.

. Our koalas
We are now down to eight koalas: Dave, Scarface, Beast, Buffy, Sally, Bella, M1187 and M1189.  I have mourned the loss of each of our collared koalas, but also smile at the memories:  Lucie was my favourite and I have a LOT of photos of her and her various joeys.  Princess was always such a little drama queen.  Cranky Frankie didn’t get his name for being sweet-natured.  He will go down in history as the most aggressive koala I’ve ever met.  I don't think he liked me much? And the list goes on and on…  It certainly has been a privilege to work with these beautiful animals.

Dave is still going strong :-)

. The future
I have about 600 little mannas growing and these will be ready to plant next autumn.  There are also numerous little seedlings growing in the control burn areas.  There is much work to be done but together, we can rebuild.


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The death toll rises to 5

Trying to make sense of a senseless situation 4 Nov, 2013

Yesterday we lost another four of our radio-collared koalas to starvation: Lucie, Princess, Lison and Austin (Lucie is the little female with the joey featuring in this blog).  Six weeks ago, these animals were deemed healthy enough by vets to be released.  Their GPS tracks show how desperately and widely they've been searching for trees that have some leaves left on them.  Some like Dave and Scarface have been successful in finding some decent trees.  Beast has managed to find his way past a tree collar and is enjoying a decent meal or two.  But most are only finding dead trees and resorting to gnawing on the bark.  One koala and a joey nearly launched herself at us to get the few leaves we felt compelled to hold out to her.

These animals are just the few that we've been tracking for the last few years.  There are countless others suffering the same fates.  In the process of tracking yesterday, I came across the carcasses of five others, and I wasn't even searching for them.  And this is just the koala death toll.  The tree death toll is even greater.  Well over 400 hectares (about 1100 acres) of manna gum woodland is now dead and what remains is rapidly being defoliated by ravenous koalas. 

We are pleading with the government to intervene.  While they can't turn back time, they can put an end to the koala suffering, help any remaining live trees recover, and assist landholders rebuild the habitat.  You can help by emailing your view to Mr Ryan Smith (Minister for Environment; or Denis Napthine (Premier;