‘How much can the koala bear?’, a heart-rending article in this weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald’s magazine (11-12 Feb 12). What a shock to read that there may be as few as 45,000 of these beautiful creatures left in the wild – and a reminder of how amazingly lucky we are here at North Farm to share this place with koalas.
It turns out that there’s mixed news for koalas at the moment. The good news is that Greens leader Bob Brown has finally succeeded in getting a new Senate inquiry launched in order to ‘assess the threats to, and management of, koalas across the country’. How incredible that this hasn’t been done before, given the ‘national icon’ status of koalas. For information on how to help the Australian Koala Foundation to help koalas, check out this website https://www.savethekoala.com/. The photos on the ‘Adopt-A-Koala’ pages are beautiful.
But the bad news is that there’s now a serious outbreak of a tree disease called myrtle rust that could further decimate the koala population on the east coast of Australia. This fungal disease generally has yellow spores that spread widely, mostly by wind. For identification, see here.
Myrtle rust control seems to be in the too-hard basket, along with koala protection – although pressure is starting to mount on Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig. If you’d like to see the Minister do more than just announce, back in May 2011, an allocation of $1.5m ‘to support a pilot of the national transitional containment principles developed by the National Biosecurity Committee’ then drop him a line at [email protected] or give him a call on 02 6277 7520.