A new analysis by WWF-Australia shows that runaway bulldozing of forests has killed more than 5 thousand koalas in Queensland in just four years.
Between mid-2012 and mid-2016, the bulldozing of trees killed a minimum of 5,183 koalas statewide.
“That is a devastating loss for a species listed as vulnerable in Queensland and where populations around Brisbane have collapsed by 50-80% in less than 20 years,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.
"WWF's scientific research shows that since the previous Queensland government weakened safeguards the number of koalas killed by tree-clearing every year has more than doubled to about 1300.
“It's hard to imagine any country in the world that would allow twice as many of its globally iconic wildlife to be killed.
“It's a national tragedy and an international embarrassment.
“We know that Queenslanders are distressed if even one koala, their state emblem, is killed or injured, let alone 5000.
“So long as the damage done to environment laws by the previous Queensland government remains unfixed, koalas will continue to die in increasing numbers,” he said.
RSPCA Queensland CEO Mark Townend said his organisation’s wildlife hospital deals with thousands of animals injured and suffering because of tree-clearing.
“We’re seeing open slather destruction of wildlife habitat and it has to stop,” Mr Townend said.
“The mass suffering, injury and needless deaths of wild animals caused by the bulldozing of their forest homes is largely hidden but it is Queensland’s greatest animal welfare crisis,” he said.
WWF-Australia has released a conservation plan calling for all parties to restore the ban on the clearing of remnant and high-quality regrowth vegetation and wetlands, and increase the extent and quality of native vegetation.
WWF-Australia media contact:
Senior Media Officer Mark Symons on 0400 985 571