28 Oct 2017


WWF-Australia today handed Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles the results of its “KIMBY” petition that mobilised more than 53,000 people concerned over the impacts of excessive tree clearing.

The conservation organisation also presented the minister with a new report by eminent scientists that calculates tree-clearing in 2015-16 killed 45 million animals – mammals like koalas and gliders, birds like hawks, robins and cockatoos and reptiles like goannas, skinks and geckos.

WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Martin Taylor said the strong response to the KIMBY petition shows the growing sense of community alarm over the escalating destruction of wildlife habitat.

“People can see with their own eyes the bulldozers, the scars on the landscape, the koalas killed by the roadside as they try to escape."

“The community is demanding that the State Government strengthen laws to protect bushland wildlife habitat from bulldozers."

“If we don’t fix the weak laws we have it’s the death penalty for native wildlife,” Dr Taylor said.

Dead koala on the side of the road
Dead koala on the side of the road © Clare Gover, Return to the Wild, inc. / WWF-Aus

More than 53,000 people clicked to send a virtual origami koala, called a KIMBY, and a personal message to key Queensland politicians to let them know they want to see Koalas In My Backyard.

KIMBY Origami
© WWF-Aus
Over 53=000 KIMBYs sent
© WWF-Aus

Participants generated more than half a million emails to politicians, which included messages such as:

I used to see koalas in the trees near the station and further up. Now there are no trees for them left. More and more are vanishing and I feel sick seeing it. I don’t want to lose more wildlife and nature.

It is in Australia's best interest to ensure their survival. If we take care of them they provide valuable tourism revenue that will not run out - bringing joy to so many people from travellers to locals.

The government would want to fix this problem very quickly! It’s not right and is unAustralian!

Please don't let our iconic and beautiful symbol disappear!

It comes as WWF-Australia released new vision of some of the latest patients of Return to the Wild, inc - a wildlife rescue service based in the Toowoomba region where clearing is ongoing.

They include a tiny koala joey whose mother was killed by a vehicle, a sugar glider trapped on a barbed wire fence, another glider found on a road near tree-clearing, and a puggle (baby echidna) found near excavation for housing.

Orphaned koala joey
Orphaned koala joey © Clare Gover, Return to the Wild, inc. / WWF-Aus
Juvenile glider
Juvenile glider © Clare Gover, Return to the Wild, inc. / WWF-Aus
Puggle © Clare Gover, Return to the Wild, inc. / WWF-Aus

“These victims are the face of a hidden crisis caused by habitat destruction,” said Dr Taylor.

In fact, the RSPCA considers tree-clearing the single, greatest animal welfare crisis in Queensland because of the enormous extent of suffering and death it causes. 

Animals killed update

In August, Dr Taylor and other eminent scientists estimated that tree-clearing in Queensland killed 34 million animals per year.

But based on the big increase in clearing in 2015-16, revealed earlier this month, the scientists have revised up their calculation.

They now conservatively estimate wildlife deaths from the bulldozing of bushland at 44.7 million, composed of 1.1 million mammals, 3.7 million birds and 39.9 million reptiles.

The scientists are Dr Hal Cogger, John Evans Memorial Fellow, the Australian Museum; Prof. Chris Dickman, University of Sydney; Prof. Emeritus Hugh Ford, University of New England; Prof. Chris Johnson, University of Tasmania; and Dr Martin Taylor, WWF-Australia.

WWF-Australia media contact: 

Senior Media Officer Mark Symons on 0400 985 571