The Executive Director of the Australian Koala Foundation (AKF), Deborah Tabart is seeking support from Australian wildlife carers and organisations for a nomination to list the koala as ‘vulnerable’ throughout its natural range across Australia. As you know the United States Government listed the koala as ‘vulnerable’ under their Endangered Species legislation in the year 2000 and it is the view of the AKF that koalas should be listed here in Australia under the EPBC Act (Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999).
"AKF is extremely confident that we have the necessary scientific data to persuade the Honourable David Kemp, Minister for the Department of Environment and Heritage, and his Threatened Species Scientific Committee to consider our request favourably," said Tabart.
"We are hoping that you have information that will help us submit a full and concise application to the Minister. Would you be prepared to give any data you have to the AKF as part of the listing document? If so, you can forward it to Renee Sternberg at email@example.com or at the postal address below, by the end of May this year. We are very confident that your years of hard work in helping the koala will be able to provide valuable data for this scientific process."
As you well know, the koala needs Federal protection from the continual onslaught of development, particularly on the east coast of Australia. In recent months, the AKF was able to persuade the Queensland Minister for the Environment to list the koala as ‘vulnerable’ in the South East Queensland Bioregion. "It was a sad day in many respects because to meet the criteria for ‘vulnerable’, it meant that we had to prove the koala is currently in a downward spiral to extinction," she said.
"In the past, our critics and those opposed to a ‘vulnerable’ listing have been able to throw a shadow over the koalas’ vulnerability by clouding the issue with over population issues in both Victoria and South Australia. Because of this fact, it is our intention to ask the Federal Minister to only consider the koala throughout its natural range in Australia. By specifying the nomination to koalas only in their natural range we will exclude the genetic, and management issues related to those aberrant populations within Victorian and South Australian isolates and islands.
We intend to make sure that our application is scientifically valid and compelling. Our scientists therefore desperately need anything you have that will help us to win the argument. Anything will do. We will be able to work out what is relevant to our documents. You may also care to fill in the attached letter of support or write your own and return it to us. We would appreciate any personal or group experiences with koalas and your thoughts on why their level of protection should be upgraded. We will then include these testimonials in our nomination to the Federal Government as resounding support for the upgrade of koalas to ‘vulnerable’. If you require an electronic copy of the template letter please click here to download.
We will be submitting our final documents around Save the Koala Day (July the 30th) this year and we intend to ask the Environment Minister to list the koala prior to the Federal election in November 2004".
Thank you for supporting koala conservation and education.
For more information about this important issue, visit the Australian Koala Foundation Website at www.savethekoala.com/vulnerable.html.
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