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Thousands appeal for koalas to be introduced to NZ

A koala named Rose from Thrumster recovers from burns at The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. Image: Nathan Edwards/Stuff.

More than 3500 people have signed a petition calling for koalas to be introduced to New Zealand in the wake of devastating wildfires in Australia, but experts say there are other ways to support the stricken species.

Millions of animals have been impacted by the wildfires currently raging across the continent and there are concerns for how the remaining ones will manage given the loss of vegetation.

A new Change.org petition says the best solution for the koala is to introduce the marsupial to the roughly 28,500 hectares of eucalypts planted mostly in the central North Island.

Signatories to the petition said koalas were cute and bringing them over here would help save them from further population reduction.

But not everyone is a fan, with one Twitter user pointing out other introduced species from Australia have caused havoc for New Zealand wildlife.

Possums were introduced to New Zealand in the 1850s to establish a wild source for food and fur pelts, but the population exploded into the millions and they remain a pest today.

Wellington Zoo animal science manager Simon Eyre says koalas that had been through the fires would need daily husbandry as well as extensive veterinary facilities and expertise.

He says he believes any assistance should be provided directly to the Australian authorities dealing with the fallout from the fires.

"For us, it would be assisting in Australia and it wouldn't only be koalas, it would be other species affected by the fires as well.

"But that will all be coordinated for us so that we send the right people, and the right expertise, and the right equipment, or whatever else is required."

Auckland Zoo would not comment directly on the petition but say the best way to support Koalas was through trusted organisations like the WWF.

RNZ.

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4 Comments
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Hey Morepork

Posted on 14-01-2020 18:58 | By

Well said. Totally agree with you.

Emotional nonsense.

Posted on 14-01-2020 12:47 | By morepork

Many of us love animals and are sorry to see the devastation in OZ. Koalas are delightful, even if they do have a tendency to pee on you when you hold them... But surely by now, the general population has learned that messing with species and ecosystems ALWAYS ends badly. There are many ways we can help (some are outlined in the article) but releasing a non-native species into the NZ bush is just throwing kerosene onto a bushfire waiting to happen.

WHAAAT

Posted on 14-01-2020 11:56 | By

We don’t want the flea infested, piddling, Clamidia carrying marsupials here. Yeah they look cute as but let’s be realistic. Once our very limited gum trees run out and the Koalas have become over-populated, what then . . . Good bye to our Native Flora? Then we’ll blame the Aussies - not fair to the Koalas, not fair to NZ, not fair to the Aussies. Nice thought but not enough thought.

Srsly?!

Posted on 14-01-2020 07:01 | By Jem762

This is the problem with the ’Green’ minded. Introducing a large marsupial in to our country out of sympathy would wreak havoc on our native flora and fauna. It saddens me that at least 3500 people would be so shallow.