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Animals, Local, News

More people means less koalas

Koala, courtesy of Brisbane TimesSouth East Queensland’s booming population is spelling bad news for koalas, with 10 dying every day in the region by some estimates.

That means in September, Save the Koala Month, around 300 will perish.

The furry creatures are now “functionally extinct” across the country, according to Australian Koala Foundation CEO Deborah Tabart.

And the creation of three new super cities on Brisbane’s fringes will only increase the death toll, she said.

“There are only 2000 left on the Koala Coast [Logan, Redlands and Brisbane], they are functionally extinct,” she said.

“Their population numbers won’t come back and it’s pretty shocking actually.”

The AKF believes there are between 43,000 and 80,000 koalas nationwide, with 17,000-35,000 in South East Queensland.

The Queensland Government has pledged $43 million for a koala habitat strategy and this year Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones announced the purchase of 127 hectares of land in Daisy Hill to aid koala protection.

“[The land] had been earmarked for development as it was zoned rural-residential but now it will permanently protected as conservation park,” she said in a statement.

However, with start-up cities Ripley Valley, Greater Flagstone and Yarrabilba taking up natural habitat, Ms Tabart isn’t convinced the Daisy Hill land will help maintain koala numbers.

She said the land should have just been put under government protection.

“She did not say how the land was chosen and there are 10 times better way to protect koalas than that,” she said.

“Why didn’t she put a restrictive covenant on the land that wouldn’t have cost anything?”

But Ms Jones said a restrictive covenant could only be placed on state-owned land and that that was not the case at Daisy Hill.

Ms Tabart said a 4.7 per cent swing to the Greens in Petrie, a big koala habitat, showed people’s concerns for the environment and its inhabitants at the federal election.

“People do care about koalas and the big green swing in Petrie, is a reflection of wanting to be green. The average person loves koalas and the Government is only just lighting up to that” she said.

This article is also available on Brisbane Times at http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/more-people-means-less-koalas-20100909-1534n.html#ixzz1jy1Nt2Wa

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