One of the Australia's best-known animals, the Koala, is in danger of extinction. Fauna experts?
SV: Conservationists led by district officer, Jim Davidson arriving for the catch.
CU: Koala bear in tree.
SV: Jim Davidson puts noose round koala bear and drags him down from tree. (TWO SHOTS)
SCU: Jim Davidson takes bear from canvas and answers reporters questions.
SCU: Koala clings onto catchers arm and trousers and is out into sack. (TWO SHOTS)
CU: Baby Koala bear. (TWO SHOTS)
SV & CU: Koala bears being caught. (THREE SHOTS)
CU & SV: Bear being transferred to transporter cage. (TWO SHOTS)
GV: Jetty in harbour.
SV & GV: Crated bears being shipped to mainland.
TRANSCRIPT: GODDARD: "Anyone who doesn't think that catching koalas is hard work, by the way, ought to try it for a day or two...although it looks rugged the process doesn't hurt the koala. For instance, a toggle prevents the noose from closing too tightly around their necks. Even though they're docile creatures, Koalas are very agile in trees and a lot harder to catch than you would think."
GODDARD: "She doesn't look very happy like that?"
DAVIDSON: "No she's not but then again, ah, I wouldn't probably be very happy if I'd just dropped out of a tree either."
GODDARD: "They can do you quite a bit of damage with those claws.?"
DAVIDSON: "Yeah, if a...you can probably see that their very long, specially designed for climbing, evolved over a very long period of time to make them effective climbers, and if they latch around your arm they make a real mess of you."
GODDARD: "Despite their teddy-bear image, koalas are not bears. Being marsupials carrying new-born infants in the mother's pouch, koalas have more in common with the Kangaroo, platypus and wallaby than the North American 'grizzly" This little fellow will soon leave the pouch to take the more familiar position hanging onto the back of his mother's neck.
The reason for the whole operation is food. French Island is one of the best breeding grounds for koalas...there aren't any predators, apart from the Fisheries and Wildlife men, very little disturbance. But being an island, there is a necessarily limited amount of food. During a week, a quarter of an estimated koala population of one thousand was shipped into the mainland. The alternative was a further increase in population and, eventually, starving koalas.
The koalas had to endure their wooden crates for less than a day before being taken to the tanker and jetty on the eastern side of French Islands, and shipped in the normal passenger ferry to the mainland...."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: One of the Australia's best-known animals, the Koala, is in danger of extinction. Fauna experts say bushfires, disease and urbanisation are killing koalas faster than they can reproduce. Indigenous to Australia, the koala-once thought to be related to the bear because of its appearance-has been hard hit by diseases affecting the eyes and kidney. Bushfires have also taken a tragic toll; it's thought thousands of koalas have suffocated in tree tops. But in French Island, Victoria, natura has added another problem...over-population. The Australian Broadcasting Commission's Martyn Goddard reports.