A logging operation that killed dozens of koalas and injured nearly a hundred of them has shaken up Australia. The government is investigating the incident that has created a wave of anger on social media.
The news of the killing of Australia’s iconic animals by humans comes amid the ongoing bushfire crisis that has caused death of billions of animals. The koala population has taken such an extraordinary hit that the species could be listed as endangered, Australian Environment Minister Sussan Ley said a few weeks ago. Nearly 30 per cent of the koala habitat in Australia has been destroyed in the fires.
But the latest deaths — which are being called a “koala massacre” — are caused by humans. A logging operation in bluegum plantation near Cape Bridgewater in the province of Victoria destroyed a koala habitat, leaving the ground littered with dead koalas. The locals could smell the rotting bodies.
Conservation group Friends of the Earth Australia said local people witnessed bulldozing of many dead koalas into slash piles. It posted several photos of dead koalas on its website.
“Friends of the Earth continues to be alarmed at the extent of deaths also associated through plantation logging in South West Victoria and is concerned that the Victorian State Government has done little to understand and resolve this matter,” it said in a statement. “The argument that private landholders are responsible for what happens on their land is no excuse for the wanton cruelty and harm caused by the bluegum plantation industry. What else aren’t they telling us? The bluegum plantation is getting away with koala cruelty and animal harm at a scale probably unprecedented for a century.”
The group says it has highlighted similar killings in this region several times in the past too.
Victoria government is now investigating the incident. Dozens of injured koalas have been rescued from the site, many of whom had to be euthanised due to serious injuries.
A local woman’s response to the incident posted online has gone viral. She was hiking in the area a few days ago when she came across the dead koalas.
MAKE THIS GO VIRAL. Hundreds of koalas slaughtered during the logging of bluegum plantation near Portland. Company is #southwestfibre, a joint venture between #midway and #mitsui. This is absolutely unacceptable. #australianbushfires @abcnews pic.twitter.com/iyFq5fEEYL
— Stephie (@Stephiewashere) February 1, 2020