The planet’s sixth mass extinction is currently occurring, and this time due to human activity with many of the world’s iconic species facing extermination in the wild. Australia has one of the world’s worst records of modern extinction (54) and longest lists of threatened species (909, IUCN) including our iconic koalas which are listed as vulnerable to extinction in NSW and QLD.
Sadly, our famous koalas, beloved the world over are moving down a path right before us that will see them go locally extinct unless we prevent it! We developed an awareness raising campaign to deliver this message and consequently heard that some people thought our local koalas must have stripes!? Well, not exactly. Friends of the Koala’s ‘koalacines’ are a quick visual reminder of perhaps Australia’s most shameful case of extinction – the ‘Thylacine’, aka the Tasmanian Tiger. Like koalas, Thylacines were hunted en-masse when people (supposedly) didn’t know any better. Hunting, rather than today’s habitat loss, caused the Thylacine’s extinction. The last known survivor named ‘Benjamin’ was captured from the wild and died in captivity at Hobart Zoo in 1936. Yep, we did that. Pretty awful, huh?
That’s why the heroes of our Prevent a Local Extinction campaign are sporting stripes! As a warning of the path our local koalas are headed down. If we don’t prevent it, they will cease to exist locally in the wild. How bad is that? (The koala in our campaign only has three feet. His fourth foot was missing in the original image, but in real life we also have a beautiful, young koala in care who is missing a fourth foot from birth. He has a fighting yet gentle nature and is named Triumph, but more on him later!)
So, we are asking people to take action. Please share, use and order the campaign materials below. It all helps!
Just as species can go extinct, so can their individual populations, reducing both the genetic diversity and long-term survival prospects of the species.
In the days before Europeans came to Australia, there were millions of koalas in Australia, but after settlement from the early 1800’s until the 1920’s, millions were hunted and killed for their furs to make hats. Many people were upset about this and protested to the government, however it took an American President, Herbert Hoover, banning the import of koala furs to the US in 1927 that saw the end of the fur trade. Eventually the Koala was made a Protected Species in all states by 1937, which means that no one is allowed to harm a Koala. However, there are no laws to protect their homes – the gum trees and forests which Koalas rely on for food and shelter. NOW, there are only 36,000 koalas in NSW according to the NSW government.
Whilst disease causes most koala deaths in this region, followed by vehicle hits or attack by dogs and other predators, habitat loss is a core driver of the koala’s march to extinction. In north east NSW koala populations have declined by about 50% due to residential, commercial and infrastructure development. Koalas know their ranges and trees. Removal of these cause koalas serious stress and can result in fatal diseases.
“Millions of koalas inhabited Australia before European settlement. NOW, there are only 36,000 in NSW. Our koalas need more, not less, connected habitat spanning land tenures and generations.”
“Koalas are vulnerable to extinction in NSW & QLD, and populations are declining. Here’s 10 actions you could take to help prevent koalas from going locally extinct!”
Download PDF: Prevent Koala Extinction_FOK A3 Poster
Digital / Website banner
Download larger image: FOK Banner 2500x977px
15 Sec TV ad
Our latest community service announcement (crudely animated) produced and voiced by our volunteers.
Animated digital banner / Phone screen saver
Click animated GIF image above to save, or download MP4 movie version here: FOK animated banner_Phone screen saver_MP4
DL Flyer insert
Download PDF: FOK DL Flyer Insert_3up print
Large print banner – joint branding
Download Template PDF: Prevent Koala Extinction_Printed Banner Template_140x50cm