I walk in the bush and the cacophony of birds fills the air. I am alone, or I think I am but the butterflies are prolific. A koala peers down from his branch above and he would have gone unnoticed if I were not searching. I am in Tinana Queensland and I stand where the trees and the animals in them could be gone very soon as they are threatened by development. It breaks my heart! This land may soon be bare of trees if the developer has his way. It will be like the Lawnton Lakes Estates where there is too little, too late for the koalas closed in and over-browsing the trees.
My inner voice is the one that tells me the truth. I feel it when someone is genuine and when someone is just buying time. I know when someone lies. When dealing with government I will always be wary of the ‘truths’ they preach as actions speak louder than words! Often the half truths and outright lies prevail at all levels.
Koalas are my life and what I witness season after season in Australia is the decline of an iconic species in the wild. It is pathetic because year after year nothing changes. Koalas and kangaroos = Australia in the eyes of someone like me that has been relocated! We need to be trying everything possible to stem the decline and we need to be stepping outside to think differently. What we have done thus far has not worked! Koalas are not safe in suburbia in or out of breeding season if they have a limited range and nowhere to go. They are not safe on islands in the sea or within the man made islands we create on land as development pushes them out of their natural range. All you have to do is look at a map to see that the isolated pockets in the 5km ranges they live in are not enough. If government does not change these policies that no longer serve today, we will just watch the isolated pockets that exist disappear like ghosts in the wind. Innocent lives are deemed less than worthy and I am baffled by the lack of common sense and decisions made to place money before life.
There have been 40 koalas displaced and we wait for an answer, likely to receive the one we fear most. Government places themselves above the laws of reason and claim expertise and value in process when there is none. They claim they wait for science to base decisions upon and yet they choose to ignore the expertise and scientific guidance that doesn’t serve growth, development or destruction of habitat. If it costs a bit more, they turn to short cuts and an easy way out. When will they see that it could be different? Probably when it is too late.
Back in March, I stood under a koala at the Lawnton Lakes site and I cried tears of anger and frustration and regret. I told him I was sorry for the destruction I saw. Not much has changed since then. In Tinana I witnessed one of the koalas that remain in an area under threat. Soon the clearing begins in his home! In Somerset, a passing lane on a busy highway will soon be under construction to serve the “big” business of growth and development. Although Council unanimously voted against this, can someone tell me how State Government overrides and Local Government has no say?
Where koalas live and die, they must be recognized, respected and honoured. When they die no one knows. No one in the mainstream outside hears or sees. The death goes unnoticed except by the few brave souls who witness the aftermath of destruction. A Federal Protection holds no value if habitat continues to be destroyed and if people don’t care. There should be a price placed on trees and an incentive to plant and restore habitat. Only when we can show dollar and cent value for the trees and the clean air they provide for the ever growing numbers of humans, will we be able to save our iconic species. The terrible record of animal extinctions that exists in Australia will continue to raise until we raise our voices high and speak up for “What is Best for Koalas”. It’s not too late, but the clock is ticking and the pace is speeding up. Breeding season is around the corner and koalas live not by human pace. Their hearts beat to the drum of life in rhythm with the seasons that are changing. We all could learn from this rhythm and slow down before it’s too late.
Extinction is forever!