Koalas on KI

Subject: Koalas on KI
From: R & J Frankenberg <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 18:38:42 +1100

Without knowing anything about KI vegetation, I find it quite credible that
in the absence of predators or disease, koalas could over-populate their
habitat.  Eucalypts can recover from defoliation, but not again and again
and again...  Yes there may be a fungus involved, but it may be fatal when
the trees are losing their vigour because of continual defoliation.

We have to be careful of the 'charismatic megafauna' syndrome here.   Just
because koalas look cuddly and cute, and are at risk from habitat loss and
disease on the east coast, we can't refuse to recognise reality elsewhere.
To spend vast sums catching, sterilising and releasing a few koalas is a
ridiculous waste of money.  ( It is probably just as stressful to the koala
as banding is to waders).   If populations (particularly introduced species)
get so big that they are destroying their habitat, they need to be carefully
culled - with associated research so that the results are understood.  If we
mess things up, we have to be responsible for managing the result.

If the koalas manage to kill most of the trees on KI it is not going to do
much for the local bird and mammal populations.   Please can there be a bit
of ecological and common sense here.

Judy Frankenberg

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