Yep, it sure is a pity about the Koala.
It’s cute and cuddly but unfortunately it likes to live in trees in prime development spots. Let’s face it, when it comes to a shoot out between koalas and developers, you know who’s going to win – don’t you?
Now there’s a smart way to pick a desirable location to develop – watch where the koalas are holed up! The canny marsupials seem to be expert in picking out the best locations to chew on those tasty eucalyptus leaves.
They are, it seems, rather partial to water views. And we all know what happens when a tree stands in the way of a good water view!
Port Stephens Council and the Lands Department have declared war on the pesky koala. It appears that they (the koala) like living in some parkland behind the beach at Nelson Bay on which the council would like to extend the Halifax Caravan Park. Well how dare those koalas!!! The council and Lands Department are a reasonable lot but the koalas have just GOT to understand that that land is worth a whole heap of money!!! They’ll just have to pack their gum leaves and go find a gum tree where land values are lower.
Actually, the council is no doubt greatly cheered by the news that the koala population of Port Stephens, once the “koala capital of NSW” has decreased by 70% in the past decade. Better news again, every day they are being killed on the road as they seek refuge in people’s backyards. Better still, many are killed by dogs. According to http://www.thekoala.com/koala/ 4,000 koalas are killed each year by dogs and cars.
Koalas are arboreal mammals. Their diet is mainly eucalyptus leaves which are very low in nutrients and high in toxins. Because this does not provide them with much energy they need to sleep a lot. Yep, sleeping in those trees that the council wants to chop down!
Much of original native bush has been cleared in Australia and this has contributed to the extinction of many species. Since the eucalyptus tree is so important in the koala’s diet, it plays a very big part in their survival. If eucalyptus trees in koala habitats are chopped down then we can say goodbye to the koala.
Even when a developer illegally clears koala habitat the Port Stephens Council cheers! This is what happened last year and the council promptly took the opportunity to rezone the area for industrial development. What a bit of luck! Despite the fact that the Department of Environment and Climate Change advised against the rezoning, the council high handedly proceeded to do so anyway.
And the council has now got their big eyes fixed on land right next to endangered freshwater wetlands and swamp forest. This should be an excellent site for them to expand the Salamander Bay town centre. Pity that such an expansion would breach two state environmental planning policies on buffer zones. Oh well, environmental policies are just made to be broken.
To be fair,this is not just happening at Nelsons Bay. Port Macquarie also has / had a large koala population, but once again they chose the wrong place to hang out. Port Macquarie is a terrific place to develop. Everyone wants to live there too! But you can still find koalas there – they’re holed up at the Koala Hospital where they’re being treated for stress. But unfortunately there’s nowhere to put them when they’re discharged – their trees have been chopped down.
The koala already has enough to contend with. We’ve done our level best to get rid of the blighters. Wherever there’s a koala settlement you can bet there’s a major road bisecting it, and a couple of squashed bits of fur on the road every day. And of course, eucalyptus trees are highly flamable due to their volatile oil, so they go up quickly wherever there’s a bushfire. Oh, and our garden pesticides get into the waterways which is a bit of a problem for the eucalyptus trees and everything that needs water really.
Anyway, it probably doesn’t matter because the koala has a brain that has been compared to a pair of shrivelled up walnuts on top of a brain stem. So maybe they don’t know the difference. Well, I’m sure the coastal councils are all counting on it!
Maybe you’d like to support the hospital – http://www.koalahospital.org.au/hospital/
And maybe you’d like to express your opinion to Port Stephens Council about the proposed development of the Salamander Bay town centre and the proposed extension of the Halifax Caravan Park into koala habitat.
Their address is (But they probably won’t give a damn as they have another agenda and it isn’t saving koalas) –
PO Box 42,
RAYMOND TERRACE NSW 2324
The photos were kindly supplied by Lynn Bowden who is doing wonderful work helping koalas in distress. Go to this link to see a koala video
See the website Koala Retreat for more information on the combination of koala conservation with koala captive management and a story about Matt the captive koala and Jack his wild cousin how they came together to help each other after 2001 Christmas fires.