More than 20 nature conservation groups have blown up the koala census proposed by the federal government as a pointless wall of smoke in an open letter calling for better protection of the habitat.
In the letter sent to Environment Minister Sussan Ley on Thursday, she was asked to instead revoke the building permits for sites with koala habitats and to reject future applications.
She also calls on Ms. Ley to put pressure on states to stop deforestation of indigenous forests and fund new national parks with important koala habitats.
« Koala habitat degradation has increased under your government and is currently ongoing, » the letter reads.
« Koalas can’t wait for a national census to reveal their numbers. You are now up to date. «
The 23 organizations that have joined the call include the NSW Conservation Council, Koala Action Queensland, Koala Rescue South Australia and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
« Counting koalas is like counting deck chairs on the Titanic as they sink, » said Rebecca Keeble, IFAW Oceania Regional Director.
The groups argue that the government has ignored its own consultation in the community and is delaying further action at a crucial time after last summer’s bushfire crisis.
An estimated three billion animals were killed or displaced and up to seven billion trees were destroyed or damaged in the bushfires.
A report commissioned by IFAW found that at least 6,382 koalas had been killed in NSW alone.
« Enough time has been lost in data collection when everyone understands that the threat to koalas is due to continued habitat loss, » said Terri Harvey, president of Moreton Bay Koala Rescue in Queensland.
Libby Round, chairman of Koala Rescue SA, said protecting the koala habitat is the only credible policy the federal government can take.
Ms. Ley announced the $ 2 million census plan last month as part of a broader $ 18 million plan for koala health research, medical assistance and habitat restoration.
She said scientists had complained about a serious lack of data and a national review would help decide where best to get funding and support directly.
Koala, Christmas tree
World news – AU – Counting koalas is pointless: conservationists
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