This past week, the last female koala in Noosa National Park, was euthenased due to disease. She was one of the last hopes for the future of Noosa koalas and will only be a memory from this point forward. There are 2 males left in the park that we know of but no longer a female to keep the population going. How many know of this tragedy? Numbers have been on a downward spiral and the predictions locally will one day become the predictions Nationally. The koala of Noosa is functionally extinct! Throughout Australia, carers and rescuers speak of the same items and Noosa’s story is their own as well.
So how did we get to this point? Does the Mayor of the Sunshine Coast, Mark Jamieson, have any thought regarding this or is it a “too hard basket” item that can be shoved aside to get on with bigger and better things in his eyes for a Sunshine Coastal agenda of growth?? He has all but ignored the recommendations of the Sunshine Coast Koala Summit report and never even tabled this highly intelligent and well constructed document before the end of 2012 to his council as promised. Meetings with government representatives and Environment Minister Tony Burke, have only left those crusaders hoping to achieve a balance for wildlife, in the same place they were before the meetings, with their hands tied by legal red tape and the high growth agenda of large corporations and political prowess to contend with. The koala has a Listing on the endangered species list, yet it does not seem to have any value, as trees continue to be clear cut and action and protection seem slow and ineffective. Meanwhile, koalas die. Wildlife suffers at the hands of the greedy. I take it personally when I see these animals and the earth treated with such utter ignorance and disrespect. Therefore my passion is sparked and I become vocal!
When I first arrived in Australia, my number one on the bucket list, was to see a koala in the wild. I did so, the weekend after I arrived, in Noosa National Park. Last week I walked the paths of the koala food trees in this park with not a koala to be found. Those in the visitor center told me, “There are plenty to be seen here” and there was a sighting 2 weeks ago, yet I knew differently. These volunteers are told to “lie” and to hide the truth from tourists, because face it, “what would Noosa National Park draw attention to without the koalas which at one time were a sure sighting?” Does the high growth agenda keep this in mind in tourism? Will we continue to lie now with extinction at hand? If the very reasons people flock to the coast for a holiday no longer exist, what would be the point of coming at all? And think of dollars lost! Tsk Tsk.
Although, it became my passion to speak up and attempt to be a voice for the koala, this voice is often hushed and pushed aside as the greater agenda of growth and power and ego, seem to override the truth worldwide.
Bindi Irwin spoke up recently in an essay regarding population growth and it’s effect upon our wildlife, but her words were twisted and the truth once again silenced as what was printed in media became something altogether different in the eyes of Hillary Clinton. Shame on you Hillary!
I am appalled that so little truth is out there these days despite the ever growing cyber world. Media is often a circus with only half truths be told. You must find your own voice and speak up to allow others to hear and do so without fear, perhaps even taking a risk. When others silence you, then speak up louder! Reflect and be silent at times but when your truth be told, do so with dignity and honor and respect.
So what can we do? I believe that we can speak up and listen to our heart and our inner voice. If our voice fails to reach those that need to listen, then perhaps a different approach is necessary and the time is at hand. Inspire those around you with a simple story and a creative vision and perhaps, one truth will lead to the truth of all and a positive outcome will be achieved for humans and wildlife alike.
If silence and ignorance continue, we will watch and witness the eventual extinction of koalas in the wild throughout Australia, as well as many other species. Extinction is forever.