I had the opportunity recently to experience an excellent presentation facilitated by WWF (World Wildlife Fund) in Brisbane. The presenter was WWF Australia Governor Doug Gimesy. Doug, an award winning photographer with a background in science, spoke on the power of imagery in conservation photography.
He emphasised the point that creation of strong images is a critical tool to encourage engagement in an issue such as endangered and threatened wildlife. It is by us connecting on an emotional level with an animal, that we will begin to care, and take steps to play our part in their protection. This theme resonated very strongly with me.
It is my hope that the image attached to this blog of a young, healthy koala, will have that effect.
Koalas face a very uncertain future due to continuing threats for which they have little or no defence. Habitat loss continues to cause alarm to koala populations. Land clearing and destruction of their food source and living areas places them in immediate harm. Stress from these impacts contributes to disease, which is a constant hazard.
Reductions in suitable trees for koalas also means they are more reliant on the ground for their movement, placing them in greater danger from attack by dogs, causing injury and very often fatality. Reductions in movement corridors also, tragically, bring koalas into contact with our roads and with more and more cars on an increasing number of roads. Vehicle impacts have a huge impact on their population.
Sightings of cute, iconic, beautiful koalas in the wild are, sadly, becoming increasingly rare. These animals live (or lived) on our doorstep in southeast Queensland. How sad would it be if we were not able to take our children out and show them the wonder of a beautiful animal in its natural habitat?
What can we do to help? In truth, we can all do something. Lobby, spread the word, donate money, support wild life carers, become a wildlife carer, keep dogs under control, specially at night and drive carefully in areas where there might be koalas living. Lets do our bit to keep these animals around us.
“Wild Places Matter"