Australia: Koalas in a Crisis


26th November 2019

You gave me the challenge of wildlife. Thank you for doing it when I was in Australia because it is everywhere. Only issue was managing to get close enough.

I chose the koala rather than the birds (kangaroo and wallabe were just too far) because from yesterday they are in "functional extinction". It means that they won't be able to produce a future generation (if I read well). There were 200,000 in 2016 we bow count 80,000 of them. Their habitat has been destroyed by the Bush fires and thousands have died in said fires.

Painting: Watercolour on A4 cold-pressed watercolour paper.

But I want to believe there is hope. First these guys were introduced on the island were I saw them and they became a pest so hopefully they can be reintroduced somewhere else. Also, in a presentation made by a man from the Aranda people when I was in Alice Springs it said that the elders had a marriage "arrangement" system so they could keep the population high enough to continue existing but low enough so the environment could support them. Until the arrival of the colonies it worked.

I am sure a solution can be found to regenerate the koala population. This mother and her joey live in the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on Kangaroo Island. I am convinced they have experience to share.

If you have Instagram and would like to be inspired by what a whole lot of incredible people are doing to protect and serve the wildlife of the world, here are some accounts and tags to look up:

#sketchforwildlife - artists coming together to raise money for wildlife preservation. They spend 30 minutes on incredible wildlife sketches and put them up for sale for £100, 100% of which goes to wildlife charities across the world.

@emilylamb_art - the founder of #sketchforwildlife and daughter of David Shepherd, of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. Emily travels the world documenting her experiences as an artist. She has raised over £40,000 this year just through her daily 30-minute sketches and has dedicated her life to witnessing and protecting wildlife.

@wwf_australia - on the ground deploying vets, water, re-establishing safe habitats and impacting environmental policy and law.

Thank-you for reading x

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