Welcome to the new TV game show that’s sweeping Australia… Kill the Koala.
In this game, contestants answer questions to win a prize. They can claim their prize or select to progress to higher value prizes. To claim a prize all they need do is kill this cute little guy we have here in a cage.
First stage prize is a dinner for two at Jack’s Steakhouse. Now remember that all the beef at Jack’s Steakhouse was raised on land that previously supported large populations of Koalas. There are two questions.
Is the koala vulnerable or endangered?
That’s right! The second question, to win your prize. What do we do when an animal is ‘vulnerable’?
Nothing. We wait for it to become endangered before we even think of doing something. Then it’s too late in many cases.
You’re right, again. The prize is yours if you choose to ‘Kill the Koala!’
I want to go on.
Great choice. The second prize is a fantastic trip for two to the Gold Coast. and South-East Queensland. Remember that South-East Queensland was home to the largest population of koalas in Australia, but now the Gold Coast region is more famous for its property developers and super rich.
Again, you need to answer both questions to win your holiday. The first question is: which is the main cause of koala population decline? Is it, loss of habitat, disease caused by stress, dogs or road-kill?
Loss of habitat?
That’s correct. You wouldn’t last long either if we destroyed your home, would you? Especially if you were still in it. Ha ha!
Question 2. Koalas can live anywhere that there are gum trees, true or false?
I think that’s false.
You’re right again! Koalas need a range with certain species of eucalypts at different times of year.
Well, you’ve won the holiday. All you need to do is kill the koala!
No, I want to go on.
That’s your choice. The questions start getting harder for the next prize – a brand new fully-imported four-wheel drive SUV courtesy of Holden, the Australian car company. You can use this vehicle to explore remote pristine bushland areas, but do it quickly because this bushland, much of which might be previously undisturbed koala habitat, isn’t going to stay undisturbed for long.
And the question is, by what percentage has the koala population declined, since white settlement? Is it 25%, 50%, 90% or over 95%?
I think it’s over 95%.
You’re right again. Until 1937, millions of koalas were killed for fur. After they were “protected”, habitat loss by clearing for farming, forestry and land development have seen numbers continue to decline, year on year.
The next question, to win the 4WD is, what percentage of the federal budget is allocated to protecting koalas? Is it 0.03%, 0.01% or 0.003%?
Correct! $13.6 million dollars for projects aimed at rehabilitation, restoration and linking of koala habitat for koala populations. You win the 4WD! You can play on, or claim your prize by killing the koala.
I’d like to play on.
Good idea. In this round, we are playing for the cash. $200,000! Of course that is a tiny amount compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars of income generated by forestry, mining, land development and farming on former koala forests. Looks like the koalas got the rough end of the stick. Ouch!
Your round four question is this. How much Australian tourism income is estimated to be generated by the lovable koala? $3 million, $600 million or $3 billion?
Um, $3 billion?
That sounded like a guess, but you’re right! The Australian Koala Foundation has estimated that koalas attract tourists to Australia equivalent to $3 billion and 30,000 jobs.
Now the big decision. You can claim your prize or go for the home. To claim your prize of $200,000 you just need to kill the koala! If you decide to play on you’ll be playing for a country retreat, on five acres of newly cleared land, a 300 square-metre architect-designed home, with swimming pool and surrounded by manicured lawn. This could be the home in the forest you always dreamed of. On your property you may see koalas in your own backyard, searching for their favourite trees. Oops!
I want to go on.
A great decision. You are playing for the home, valued at $2.8 million. I wish you luck. The question is this. We know koalas are precious, we know why their numbers are falling and we know they are valuable to the economy, so why is no government willing to stop the tree-felling, stop the land-clearing, stop unsuitable development, protect their existing range and expand that range to ensure them a future?
I don’t know.
You don’t know the answer? I’m sorry, your dream home is going to remain a dream. It looks like this little fella here – isn’t he cute? – will survive for another week, until we return again next week, to play “Kill the Koala!”
[Image was copied from https://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/confused-koala-discovers-his-home-has-been-cut-down.html]