Koala massacre reveals a threat bigger than the fires...

The deaths of hundreds of koalas whose homes were bulldozed by a sheep farmer has highlighted the biggest threat to the survival of the species... and it's not fires.

shadow

LAST UPDATED: 23 March 2020

An estimated 1 billion native animals and millions of hectares of land have been destroyed by fires across Australia, making some species, including koalas, even more vulnerable to extinction. But while fires have understandably captured the media headlines, the biggest ongoing threat to the survival of Australia's beloved 'koala bear' is something that happens every single day... land clearing.

And when a bulldozer tore through precious koala habitat in Victoria in the midst of the bushfire crisis — killing trees and animals — it catapulted this critical issue into the national spotlight.

An animal welfare disaster

What unfolded on the private property in South-West Victoria in early February can only be described as an animal welfare disaster. To make way for sheep grazing, a habitat that was home to hundreds of koalas was bulldozed... and as the trees fell, so did countless animals.

Some were killed instantly, their bodies found trapped under heavy branches or strewn amongst piles of felled trees. Some suffered traumatic injuries and broken bones. Some were orphaned and others were found huddled together in the few remaining trees left on the property — hungry, thirsty and utterly helpless.

When Animals Australia was alerted to this emergency situation, we immediately flew in expert wildlife vets to assist the locals who had discovered the tragedy. We also supplied an expert tree climber who was able to safely access and retrieve surviving koalas who were clinging on for life in difficult-to-reach places.

More than 200 koalas needed rescuing, with around 40 found in such poor condition that the kindest option was for them to be euthanised. The rescue and rehabilitation efforts of volunteer vets and wildlife carers was extraordinary and undoubtedly saved many lives.

These two rescued koalas enjoyed a very well-earned meal after having their injuries treated.Dr Paul Ramos of Vets for Compassion keeps this rescued mum and baby koala under close observation while they heal.After treating physical injuries, Vets for Compassion nurse, Narelle Smith, takes a moment to provide critical care of the emotional sort.Dr Paul Ramos checks in on the recovery process of this young koala.Dr Alison Brown with one of her patients — and the life-saving Vets for Compassion team enjoying a rare moment of relaxation!


Initially there was some speculation about this being a bluegum plantation, and, while that was once true, it appears that the land was handed back to a farmer who then made the decision to cut down the trees so that he could use the property to graze sheep or cattle.

To make matters worse, in addition to clearing the trees, the landowner had already installed a tall fence around the property, which prevented surviving animals from escaping to seek alternative shelter and food.

Victoria's environment Minister, Lily D'Ambrosio, called what happened a 'crime' and has promised a thorough investigation. Animals Australia has lodged a legal complaint for what we believe are clear breaches of wildlife and animal protection laws.

But while this specific situation is incredibly distressing, it has highlighted the very real and ongoing threat to species like koalas whose habitats are becoming increasingly scarce every day.  

Habitat loss through land clearing for livestock production and paper remains the key threat to these vulnerable animals. Continued threat of logging and bushfires not only poses a tremendous challenge to their welfare, but to their existence as a species.

Unless governments step in to protect wildlife and their homes, soon there simply will be no safe place left for native animals to go.

Discover more


Love animals? Subscribe and help end animal abuse:
I've read and accept the privacy policy
Like Animals Australia On Facebook
UP NEXT...
For the first time, an Australian organisation has been selected as a “standout charity” by U.S.-based Animal Charity Evaluators! Animals Australia has been awarded this evaluation in recognition of our efforts... Read more » »

The sun on their faces. The grass under their feet. A spring in their step. All animals deserve freedom. Watch the heartwarming video now. Watch the heart-warming video » »

Lyn White, Campaign Director at Animals Australia, spoke to audiences across the country — and asked one simple question: 'Does history have to repeat itself or is it possible to have a kinder, more peace... Watch now » »

Despite the nightly news doing its best to depress, from Australia to Brazil, China to Norway, there is one trait that unites humankind all over the world — kindness. Read on to discover some of the best animal... Be inspired » »

Our appetite for beef, dairy and fish is wiping out wild animals, and even threatening our own survival. Discover why » »

What contributes more to climate change than all the world’s planes, trains and automobiles combined? Hint: it’s not coal and it’s not good for humanity! Read more » »

What began as a basic love for animals led Ian to find a passion for rescuing roos and other beloved Aussie natives. Read more » »

You already know cage eggs are cruel, but you'll never hear the cage egg industry admit it. So what else might they be cagey about? These five facts may ruffle some feathers. Discover the truth » »

Love a documentary that opens your eyes and expands your mind? These are definitely for you ... Expand your mind » »

We all know that eating vegan is better for your health, animals and the planet. But sometimes you just want a big bowl of the hearty, familiar foods you know and love. These recipes are for you. Dig in » »


www.animalsaustralia.org