Why Introducing Koalas is a Bad Idea

take action to save koalas

*Disclaimer: Animal Liberation does not support the killing of introduced species. We support no-kill management strategies, such as trap, neuter, release.

We love koalas and, like everyone else, want them to survive the horrific bushfires. In saying this, introducing koalas into New Zealand is not a solution. We have seen how introduced species are treated in Australia, and we cannot subject koalas to the same ill-treatment. Think about the ~10,000 camels being shot from helicopters, deer who are killed with bows and arrows, pigs hunted by dogs, and all those who suffer at the hands of the inhumane poison 1080.

Saving koalas is possible and the solution remains in Australia.

“It seems a poor solution when the fact is Australia should be stepping up its game and conserving its own species, not relying on other countries to do it for them.”  

Dr James Russel (conservation biologist)

History

Various species have been introduced over time to solve a problem or meet a need. They were released for hunting (rabbits), “set free” for their beauty (Egyptian goose), escaped farms (pigs) or were set free when they were no longer useful (camels). Now that we no longer value their existence, they are deemed “pests” and thus are being persecuted, simply for trying to survive

What happens to introduced species in Australia and New Zealand?

Introduced species are subjected to trapping, shooting (gun or bow), poisoning with horrific 1080 baits, and fumigating. All of these methods cause the animals to immense suffer immensely; their only crime is trying to survive.

But this won’t happen to koalas!

”You don’t know until a species gets here what other things they may chose to eat, so in terms of our native flora, we just don’t know what kind of impact they would have.”

Dr. Bryom (ecologist)

There is a high chance, that like every other introduced species, they will be labelled a “pest” and abusive deaths of the kind reserved for unwanted wildlife will follow. The reason people want them to be introduced is the exact reason why it shouldn’t happen – they might thrive. Why would we want to subject the adorable koala to this ill-fate?

Introduced Species:

Below are some of the fauna species that have been introduced. All but the small population of horses in New Zealand are considered “pests”.

SpeciesReason for IntroductionGovernment Status
Australia“PEST”
CamelHelped Australia expand, released & escaped“PEST”
Brumby
Used for exploration & farming, released & escaped
“PEST”
Fox
Hunting (sport & fur)
“PEST”
Rabbit
Hunting (sport, flesh & fur)
“PEST”
Goat
Emergency food, farming and hunting (flesh)
“PEST”
Deer
Hunting (flesh & ornamental)
“PEST”
Pigs
Farming


“PEST”
Cane Toad
Used to control a native beetle
“PEST”
Carp
Imitate European environment & accidentally
“PEST”
New Zealand
DeerHunting (sport)“PEST”
PossumHunting (fur)“PEST”
WallabyHunting (sport & skin)“PEST”
Rabbit/hareHunting (flesh & fur)“PEST”
StoatsUsed to kill the introduced rabbits“PEST”
GoatFarming (flesh& skin) & weed control.“PEST”
Australian MagpieTo control pastoral insects“PEST”
Rainbow LorikeetIllegally released“PEST”
HorseTransport &farmingPROTECTED
USA
European StarlingsPeople wanted to see creatures mentioned in Shakespeare“PEST”
Asian CarpTo control algae blooms & aquatic vegetation“PEST”
Zebra MusselsCarried in ballast water of transoceanic ships“PEST”
Brown Tree SnakeAccidental“PEST”
Europe
Grey SquirrelOrnamental“PEST”
Egyptian GooseOrnamental“PEST”
American MinkFarming (fur), some escaped.“PEST”
Raccoon DogFarming & hunting (fur)“PEST”
MuskratFarming & hunting (fur)“PEST”

How can we save the koala population?

”We should all be concerned about whole systems, habitats and ecological communities being lost in Australia and that is the thing we should help Australia focus on now to rebuild and regenerate those ecosystems to provide habitat for koala in Australia where they come from.”

Dr. Byrom

Introducing koalas into New Zealand is not viable; taking urgent action in Australia is. Two necessary changes need to be made at a national level:

First is, stop killing koalas.

Koala populations have been listed as vulnerable for years and are now facing possible extinction, yet, state governments continue to approve mass culls, particularly in Victoria and South Australia.

Why are they killed? The public are fed statements like, “native animals should be culled or increasing numbers could risk Australian biodiversity”, and *insert species* are “overpopulated”, so killing them is ‘humane’ because they “are starving”. All the while, we are told to ignore the environmental destruction caused by farming introduced animals for food and clothing. Animal agriculture is incredibly resource-intensive; from the land, space, water and feed it requires in order to operate, to the enormous amounts of outputs (primarily greenhouse gases and waste) it produces.

Koalas clinging to logged trees.

Second is, stop logging and reestablish native habitats.

Approximately 70-95% of important koala habitats have been cleared (PDF). In Australia, most tree-clearing is undertaken to create pastures for livestock (PDF), followed by coal mines and urban sprawl.

We need to form a united front to protect native habitats. The NSW Government recently changed the State Environmental Planning Policy (“SEPP 44” PDF). They have removed any legal requirement for developers to undertake surveys of core Koala habitat, thus making it easier to approve developments. Advocates say the removal of survey requirements places the vulnerable community of animals at a greater risk. Read more.

Logging is detrimental to all ecological functions, pushing Australia towards an ecosystem collapse and increased loss of biodiversity.

What you can do!

We all need to get vocal and make some changes. Here are five ways you can help:

  1. Call on NSW Minister Matthew Kean to take urgent action against SEPP 44.
  2. Donate to rescue groups: WIRES, Vets For Compassion, Southern Cross Wildlife Care.
  3. Donate to sanctuaries: Peanuts Wellbeing Sanctuary, Where Pigs Fly.
  4. Go Vegan! Choosing to go vegan means you are saving animals, whilst reducing your environmental footprint and the need to clear more land!
  5. Get active, write to your local council and state MP’s about these issues; encourage friends and family to do the same.
Koalas need us to change
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