29 Oct 2013

Australian woodchip exporter admits killing koalas

11:50 pm on 29 October 2013

An environmental audit is forcing the largest woodchip exporter across the Tasman, Australian Bluegum Plantations, to publicly admit that it has injured and killed koalas.

The company ships 2 million tonnes of bluegum woodchip to pulp and paper manufacturers in Japan and China annually but its Forest Stewardship Council certification has been suspended.

Wildlife advocates say logging of the vast bluegum plantations of southwest Victoria and South Australia leaves a trail of dead and dying koalas.

The ABC reports that some animals have injuries such as broken limbs, impact wounds, broken backs, severed arms, and sometimes joeys are left clinging to their dead mothers.

A former chief executive of the company, Tony Price, who is also a director of the stewardship council, says he feels guilt about the time it took for the company to take action:

"We're deeply sorry for the fact that koalas have been harmed on our property, deeply sorry."

He says the company will do everything it can in the future to avoid harming koalas.