Koala hot spots mapped out for survival. Is this an April fools? $8 Million??
THE battle to save Australia's cuddliest emblem has a new, cutting edge weapon.The Australian Koala Foundation today launched a new online koala map, which grades the quality of potential koala habitat nationwide.
The map was developed with mapping experts Esri Australia, whose online maps of Brisbane were used widely during January's floods, and is also helping with the response to the Japanese tsunami.
The foundation's Deborah Tabart said the $8 million map was developed using data from thousands of volunteer hours.
It would allow landowners to upload photos and videos when they spot koalas on their properties, or mark where a proposed road or building project could threaten them.
And it would also give developers and government information about the potential for koalas to be living on land subject to building, Ms Tabart said.
"If people understand and take this on board they could actually save the koala," she told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.
"We're giving these maps to everyone, the 'good guys' and maybe even sort of the 'bad guys'.
"I'm hoping that they will see this as a very important planning tool."
The foundation believes there are as few as 45,000 koalas left - largely due to loss of habitat - and Ms Tabart says governments have reason to be "deaf" to the figures.
"I do not believe there is one government in this country that is committed to protecting koalas," she said.
"The koala is in so many places around this nation and it's under greater threat than it ever has been.
"We have coal seam gas, we have coal, we have development, we have roads and I can promise you that those companies make political donations and maps like this get in the way.
"These maps are a powerful tool for the community who normally ring me and ask me ... help us save the koalas."