With the heart-breaking images of wildlife perishing from the wildfires that continue to decimate parts of Australia, it is even more devastating to learn about the countless koalas found dead on a timber plantation in the state of Victoria.
In a statement from Friends of the Earth, “the plantation was logged in December in what is being called a “massacre” that left hundreds of koalas dead or injured.
According to The Conservation Regulator, with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), an investigation has been launched after authorities responded to the horrific incident.
Since last Friday, more than 80 koalas have been processed through the triage center based on site at Cape Bridgewater. Wildlifewelfare assessment and triage will continue this week with qualified carers and vets on site.
Sadly, approximately 31 koalas had to be euthanized due to the poor condition that they were left in after their habitat was bulldozed.
Apparently, the land in question was owned by Australian Bluegum Plantations, whose lease expired in 2016. The plantation was apparently taken over and logged by South West Fibre, a joint operation between Midway and the Japanese company Mitsui. Apparently, after logging, the land was handed back to a private landholder.
The Conservation Regulator’s Major Investigations teamof Victoria is leading the investigation into how this incident happened and who was responsible.
All wildlife in Victoria is protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. Killing or disturbing wildlife can attract a maximum penalty of up to $8,000and/or six months imprisonment.
An additional fine of more than $8,200 per animal may also apply. The investigation teams are also looking at a range of charges under ThePrevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Anyone with information about this horrific koala incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers Australia at1800-333-000.
You can also help by signing Friends of the Earth Melbourne’s petition calling on the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, to help protect and determine a long-term plan for koalas, HERE!
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg