Our beloved koala is officially an endangered species – but you can ensure they receive up to $100,000 simply by downloading a free book.
Forget chocolate bunnies and make this coming Easter all about real koalas. One of Australia’s most iconic native animals, the koala is officially classified as “endangered” after widespread bushfires, drought, floods and land clearing.
Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner said the sheer scale and ferocity of the 2019/2020 Black Summer fires meant the number of koalas lost would “forever remain unknown”.
“But when you have canopy fires of the intensity that were seen and 80 per cent of koala habitat was burnt, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out a lot of koalas lost their lives and habitat – it’s massive,” Mr Faulkner said.
While habitat loss was a grim catalyst for the upgrade to endangered, Mr Faulkner said koalas were already on a “crash course” to extinction in NSW by 2050.
“The fires have done nothing but speed that up,” he said. “Can you imagine if koalas were extinct in the wild? It doesn’t even seem real, but it is.”
Australia has one of the highest numbers of national parks in the world, but species like koalas are still disappearing from the very places that are supposed to enable them to run wild.
“Koalas are iconic, so are (Tasmanian) devils, the platypus and echidna, but you go through all of them and devils are endangered, koalas are endangered, the platypus is near-threatened,” Mr Faulkner said.
“They’re uniquely Australian. You lose them from here, they’re gone.
“There’s greater need and scope for feral pest control, disease understanding, fire and weed management – this all needs radical up-scaling.”
As well as directly protecting koala habitat and ongoing fire and weed management, Aussie Ark has planted 22,000 trees of a planned 110,000, including those all-important eucalyptus trees for koala food and fodder.
The animal conservation charity has also teamed up with Coles to help save everyone’s favourite tree-hugger with a free downloadable children’s book. The Picky Little Koala tells the story of Kelly the koala’s journey to find the perfect home to fill her fussy, furry little belly.
For every free download between now and 19 April, Coles will donate $1 to Aussie Ark’s koala conservation efforts, up to $100,000.
Mr Faulkner hopes parents across Australia will share the book over Easter with the nation’s budding wildlife warriors.
“Please grab the book,” he said. ”By getting it for free, you’re directly helping a koala.”
An easy way to entertain kids over Easter, Coles chief marketing officer Lisa Ronson said the book would assist in koala recovery for future generations to come.
“Particularly after seeing the devastating impact of bushfires and recent flooding on native animal species, what better way than to share the story of Kelly the koala to remind everyone of the importance of protecting our wildlife?” she said.
Download your free copy of The Picky Little Koala from Apple Books and soon on Google Play.