Bears: cute, cuddly, come from Australia, and
close to extinction.. Right?
...Wrong! ....Well, maybe. It depends on who
you talk to.
Cuddly? Better not if you don’t want to
kill the object of your affection.
Endangered? That will depend on how conservationists
and wildlife experts look at the problem and
try to solve the Koala quandary.
The quandary isn't underpopulation, it's overpopulation,
and it's a very well guarded and politically
sensitive secret. In some parts of Australia,
Koala bears are so numerous they are destroying
their own habitat. With the Koala's natural
predators, the "dingo," (Australia's
wild dog), and Aborigine hunters no longer a
threat, there is nothing to keep its population
in check - except the availability of habitat
Our film will take a look at the current dilemma
facing conservationists of this adorable species.
Koalas' rites advocates are passionate and vocal
about the need to protect Australia's Koala
population, down to the last animal.
Conservationists say they are trying to save
an entire species and to do so means some individuals
may have to be sacrificed.
The problem is this: With Koala habitat shrinking
and Koala populations growing daily, conservationists
are busy relocating and sterilizing animals,
a temporary solution with an outrageous price
tag. They will soon run out of places to put
the animals, and meanwhile the problem grows
in scale along with the population.
Many experts contend that the most humane -cost
effective solution- would be to cull the Koalas
(selectively hunt). Absolutely unacceptable
to the Koala's adoring public.
Conservation, say conservationists, is not about
saving the cutest individuals, conservation
is a cold science. All over the world many species
are culled, a practice accepted with no outcry,
it is the Koala’s cuteness which is causing
Along with the elephant and the lion, the Koala
bear ranks in the top three most charismatic
animals on the planet. His appeal may be linked
to a resemblance to human babies: the proportion
of the head to the body, the shape of the face,
and the way the eyes stare straight forward
lovingly into yours.
It is not surprising that elephant conservationists
are faced with a similar dilemma to the Koala
Lessons from southern Africa will be compared
with lessons from Australia to see that the
problem is not just limited to one species or
Another notable Australian species, the Kangaroo
(funny looking at best), is regularly culled
with very positive results for a fraction of
the cost. The problem with Sterilization and
relocation, besides the expense, is that these
methods take an enormous toll on the animals.
The stress threshold of Koala's is so low that
they can die from too much handling, much less
capture, sedation, sterilization and relocation.
But is killing really a more humane solution?
The Koala’s rights people say no.