The Queensland government has allocated approximately $40 million to protect native animals across the state, with much of it to be spent on koalas.
- Climate change, land clearing and disease affecting koala populations in eastern states
- Queensland government spending an additional $25 million on koala conservation
- This is part of a comprehensive package to protect native animals across the state.
Treasurer Cameron Dick said about $25 million would be devoted to protecting and restoring koala populations in the Southeast.
“We have never had a plan as comprehensive as our protection plan for koalas in the south-east of Queensland, where we certainly have the largest koala population in our state,” he said.
Koalas were declared “endangered” in Queensland, New South Wales and ACT earlier this year by the federal government following loss of populations due to climate change, land clearing and disease.
Environment Minister Meghan Scanlon said the funding will expand the state’s koala habitat restoration program, help reduce threats to koalas in hotspots, support the development of the Koala Vision app to collect population data for communities, Will invest in ongoing scientific research and support on the ground. Negotiation Project.
However, Deborah Tabart of the Australian Koala Foundation said the new funding was a “band-aid solution”, which did not address the real reason that koalas were in danger.
“If you don’t stop the trees from falling, our koalas are doomed,” she said.
Ms Tabart said south-east Queensland has lost nearly 50,000 koalas over the past 25 years.
“The southeast Queensland koala could have been saved if everyone had done it right 20 years ago, and it hadn’t been cut down on trees,” she said.
The Australian Koala Foundation is asking the state government to enact the Koala Conservation Act, which will create legislation to protect koala habitats.
Diseases threaten the koala population
About $2 million of the new funding will be split between Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and RSPCA Queensland Wildlife Hospital.
Mr Dick said the Kurumbin Wildlife Hospital, which cares for more than 500 koalas annually, had made a significant contribution to helping fight diseases that were “becoming endemic in koala populations.”
“We know how harmful chlamydia can be to koala populations and this wildlife hospital is leading the nation in establishing a viable vaccine for chlamydia,” he said.
“If we can solve that problem, there could be very significant benefits in restoring, preserving and increasing the koala population in Queensland.”
Dr Michael Pine, chief veterinarian at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, said the funding was “a step in the right direction”.
“We are treating more than 14,000 native wildlife cases annually … and releasing [them] Back in the woods,” he said.
“So, this funding is going to make such a difference to us being able to provide that service and take care of our native wildlife.”
Thousands of species ‘at risk’
The treasurer says Queensland has a special responsibility to protect native wildlife because more than 85 percent of Australia’s mammals, 72 percent of native birds and more than 50 percent of native reptiles and frogs live in the state.
“Queensland is very special because it is home to thousands of native animal species and other wildlife species,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are currently 1,026 species (243 animals and 783 plants) listed as threatened under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act,” Mr Dick said.
About $14.7 million will be used for the state’s Threatened Species Program, focusing on recovery strategies, policy initiatives and threatened species assessments.
The government said it would provide additional support to indigenous land and marine rangers, community groups, non-governmental organizations, land managers and the research community.