Australian conservationists reckon the Federal Government’s proposed $50 million for Koala recovery efforts leaves a lot to be desired, especially considering how many other species were affected by the 2019/20 bushfires.
Last week, the Feds committed the hefty $50 million figure for habitat restoration, population monitoring and research into animal health as per the Sydney Morning Herald.
The PM even enlisted the services of Steve Irwin’s son, Robert Irwin to help him announce the dollarydoos.
Unrelated, but is there a way to blackout the left half of my iPhone screen? Asking for a friend.
However, conservationists are now saying that money alone won’t change the fate of our furry mates.
Alexia Wellbelove is a senior campaign manager at Humane Society International and told The Guardian that with current conservation structures being less than desirable, cash for koalas is just “plugging holes in a sinking ship”.
“You need a strong conservation framework,” Wellbelove affirmed.
Continued land clearing is a huge factor accounting for the depleted overall success of our current conservation framework. To be fair, it’s hard to protect koalas when their homes keep getting torn apart.
The NSW Government especially has a shockin’ record when it comes to mowing down trees that koalas could you for habitat. If you’re keen to know more about it, you can suss our little explainer here.
It’s no secret that our nation’s cutest lil’ tree huggers absolutely copped it in the 2019/20 bushfires. Some experts even reckon that the destruction of koala lives and habitats was so bad that the species could be at risk of extinction.
When asked about such a risk by the ABC, Dr Bill Ellis from the University of Queensland said that “the short answer is yeah, we should be particularly worried”.
It’s also important to recognise that while koalas might arguably be the cutest animal roaming the bush, many other native Aussie species also suffered due to the fires.
Jess Abrahams is a national nature campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation who expressed to The Guardian that while the koala funding is a step in the right direction — more must is required elsewhere.
“There’s a ton of species that aren’t charismatic — like the spiders on Kangaroo Island – and I sadly can’t see that kind of money coming to those and all the other species on our threatened species list.
“We need to do a whole lot more.”
Okay, I won’t lie to you here, they half lost me when they mentioned spiders. BUT, we’ve also gotta remember that even though a species might be icky and potentially scary — it could form an integral part of a wider ecosystem of native animals.
We also need to compare the $50m figure with the $10m in grants that one hundred different endangered species are supposed to share (yes, share) as per environment minister Sussan Ley’s announcement late last year. All of a sudden, something feels a little off.
It’s also worth mentioning that 2022 is a Federal Election year. Scott Morrison has been pulling out all the stops to make himself look good on paper by doing the smallest amount of actual work after recent polling showed his chances have taken an absolute dive into the undergrowth.
To wrap up, koala funding is a surefire way to soften the hearts of Australian voters and is definitely a step in the right direction. But like the conservations said, it might not be the best use of resources considering just how many species are still at risk in the meantime.
If you’re keen to know more about koala habit clearing — the Australian Koala Foundation has a whole swag of info on their website.