30 September 2016

 National Save the Koala Day at Makepeace Island

Member for Noosa, Glen Elmes joined koala conservationists and scientific experts to raise $25,000 for koala research at Sir Richard Branson and Brett Godfrey’s Makepeace Island on September 30 – National Save the Koala Day.

“Given its proximity to koala habitat along the Noosa River catchment Sir Richard’s home Makepeace Island, is an ideal location to serve as a base for scientific koala research, and the generosity he and Brett have displayed in joining the fight to save our iconic friends is truly remarkable.

“At the fundraising luncheon we heard from Professor Peter Timms of the University of the Sunshine Coast and Dr Jon Hanger of Endeavour Veterinary Ecology who will lead an Advisory Board about what is needed to arrest the alarming rate of deaths in our local Koala population.

“As part of the Conservancy, koala experts, scientists and community groups will work together with Government agencies as members of the Advisory Board to improve koala health and survival rates, including the treatment of sick and injured koalas, through a five year grants program,” Mr Elmes said.

“There is a need for Governments to secure and protect land for koala habitats, and this has never been more important as an additional two million people will be living in the south east by 2041. 

“When in Government the LNP committed more than $26.5 million to the protection of koalas, including the purchase of 57 hectares of prime koala habitat on Lake Macdonald Drive. There are other locations in the south east corner where female koalas that have been sterilized or koalas that have been displaced by development could be translocated.

“I worked very hard with my colleague the then Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell, to establish a trial to again translocate koalas into the Noosa National Park. The trial was very close to approval and the current Minister should approve it immediately. Approvals to set aside a range of other habitats for translocation should be also be considered urgently.

“The Makepeace Island project is intended to be a base for treatment and research not to become a new home, so it is vital that the Government utilize the suitable habitats they already have available to them.  

“I commend the Richard Branson Koala Conservancy and all of the dedicated local koala campaigners for the work they are doing in this space. As I have said on many occasions, If as a community we lose the battle to maintain healthy koala populations in South East Queensland, then we have lost the war to maintain the environment in which these wonderful creatures live,“ Mr Elmes said.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the lunch will be invested in the Conservancy and will add to the personal investment of Sir Richard and Brett.