Janine Duffy shares with us her passion for Koalas. We talk with her about prevention and conservation and how the little things make a huge impact. It’s estimated that with the help of international tourists that 3,000 koala trees will be planted in the year 2019 near Melbourne. Listen in as we learn more from Janine and the different ways you can help.
Welcome to the Professionals and Animal Rescue podcast, where goal is to introduce you two amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with animal rescue. This’ll Podcast is probably sponsored by do bert dot com. Do Bert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Now on with our show. Janine Duffy is with a kid on a walkabout near Melbourne, Australia, and her passion revolves around coz. Prevention and conservation are the key to ensuring that koalas not only survive but thrive in the wild. In the last 10 years, the number of qualities have declined by 50% through active research programs in Australia, Janine and her team of like minded individuals are able to act on the qualities greatest needs programs like targeted tree planting. Provision of water on extremely hot days on the removal of weeds helps secure the future for these amazing creatures. Hey, Janine. Thanks for coming on today. Did I Chris, really happy today. I know. I should have mentioned that you’re you’re down under your We’re talking to you from down under in Australia, so tell us about you. Tell us about your story. Well, I think I’m the luckiest person alive because I discovered Kerala’s at a very young age. My first memory was when I was about five years old and when I walked into the shop where I was standing with my mom and dad, I mean, what does Dad? Hi. And then I had a bit of a gap on Dhe. And then when I was 22 years old, I discovered them again and standard working with them. And I have become my lost work that is a massive. They know something people are fascinated by. So tell us about the job kind of what you do. Well, I go out into the wild and see koalas and monitor them and research them in the wild, so I generally don’t touch the Kerala’s. I work with them, looking at them through binoculars and through a camera lens, but usually they’re close enough to save them. You know quite well just with your own eyes, and I have a tour operation. We’re a social enterprise, so we have a mission to insure the future of these. Welcome Alice through tourism through generating income. Um, and we employ 21 people. Yeah, it’s going on. It’s doing really well. And some of them about Father of America, Valerie Citizen there. The whole job is to go out into the bush and find koalas in the morning and then take notes on what they’re doing, where they are. Tax and photographs identify the koalas by a method but discovered in 1998. And I never compiled all that data and really sorry much about, um, it’s amazing. Now tell us a little bit about I’m curious about the situation for quality. Obviously, they’re they’re unique to Australia, and it sounds like part of the reason you’re studying them is to try and help help prevent what you see happening. That’s exactly right. So when we started studying them, it was just in an interest to learn Maur. But then as we went along, we realized that we were able to get population data from what we were saying, and it’s turned out. We’re the only ones in our entire state of Victoria in southern Australia who are monitoring a natural koala population, scientists included, and what we’ve seen sadly in a decade, is a decline of 46% wow, which is a catastrophic decline. So if it was only if that was the situation for the entire state, and koalas would go immediately on to the endangered species list in our area. But there’s no other research being done, so no one’s really sure what’s happening in the rest of about state. In other parts of Australia, they are declining. It’s similar levels. So so anecdotally, Yes, we’re feeling like Salazar in really, really big travel Australia. What? But in Victoria, where I leave before yet now we will sign them. But if we leave it another 10 years, it’ll be too late. That’s I mean, that’s terrible to hear. So I mean, what is contributing? Does your research give you any insights until what’s happening? Yes, and if they night since 2008 and it’s climate change. They, uh, the mascot for climate change in Australia now. So what’s happening? That is, that their habitat is that their food source I mean what’s really what’s happening. It’s like a perfect storm of terrible, terrible effects. So it begins with the dryness that’s increasing because of lack of rain, because of climate change on dhe then, and this is the worst line that we can’t deal with is that the increased cabin oxide in the atmosphere is changing the chemical composition of the leaves and koalas can only eight eucalyptus. They don’t have any other options. So the nutrient quality is declining at a really rapid right, which means they will essentially starve to death regardless of how much have attacked they’ve got. So no, it’s it gets worse. Added to that, my beautiful home country of Australia is one of the world leaders in forest destruction out there with Brazil. Can you believe that? That that surprises me for I mean, I think of Australia kind of like us, right, very similar in terms of the people and our love for animals, for sure. Yeah, and we are. And this is what’s really strange If you ask Italians they love Kerala’s, but it’s having People just don’t realize the enormity of the problem, and that’s what we’re working hardest to try to do because I think once paid months off, these realize they will stop it, and that’s why I say that it’s not too late to save them. and I feel that this information is good because once you know the enormity of a problem, you can change it. But lack of information is terrible here. That is impossible to overcome. Really? So So we’ve got the information. We know what the problem is. We know how to fix it, and we’re doing it. So we’re planting trees in river valleys where they get the highest possible moisture into the lakes, which deals with the dehydration problem. Um, if we increase habitat, Wallace will have a chance to become the lowering nutrient quality. Uh, but they’ll have a buffer, at least for a while. And then, of course, we fix climate change. First we plan a few trees, then we fix climate change. I like that. Lead that Z. Yeah, we can keep him alive while we fix common change, which we’re going to do because, of course, we have to. Now, I’m curious. I mean, obviously, your first encounter, you said, was when you were young child and then you turn 22 this kind of became your passion. What is it about koalas that has really made this your life’s work? Well, they are absolutely from Devil’s. That’s what it is. I’m Chris. When you look at a koala at first you see this fluffy, gorgeous, cute, kind of boring thing that slates old Tom. And you think, Well, there’s not much to them, is there? But you’d be similarly wrong if you looked at a cat and Philip that Whitney? Yeah, for sure. I cattle fabulous. They are so full of character. And so I was a canal. But you have to look and you have to watch and you say that Ally, open up and look at you. Is it to say, have you gone yet? I e I mean, you took it off the camera and you start to walk away, and all of a sudden this staring at you know, you’re the most fascinating thing in the whole well, but the minute you turn around and I just I gotta say I don’t think I ever really sanity Quote videos of koalas. It’s always been just a picture. Like you said, they’re cute. They’re hanging under a branch and they look so innocent. Yeah, nothing is an old absolute devils. I think if they like to music, it would be heavy metals on Doc, Doc UMA. That would be really into document. I think they just such funny, unexpected little animals. Um, I’ll give you an example. We have this one Kamala named Clancy, who is a nine year old male who we’ve known his entire life. So from when he was a tiny baby in his mother’s pouch and when you’re, you know, 56 years. And then he got an injury down low. When he’s back where he couldn’t clean it, I couldn’t get around to lick it. And so I just turned into a horrible, festering miss with maggots. And it was just so we decided to rescue him and we thought, having had, you know, his entire lifetime in close proximity to people, you know, people saying him almost every day that he’d be fairly easy going Well, no. Course not. No, it was amazing. He scratched and beach and screamed and tried to rip us to shreds. It was braiding season, and he was full of testosterone. He was coming into dominant milestone. Just tell him and he was only interested in studying there so he could have sex wait to help you. He’s like no missing my chance. That’s a chance. You don’t know how it took two of us to hold him down and get him into the cage. This like, it’s amazing. And then when we did for Lacey, um, he got out of his catch red overto tray and then looked back as if to say, I don’t you ever thio I he proceeded to be exactly as he always was, completely on thighs bus as long as we left him alone and touching. That’s fascinating. I was gonna ask you how the impact of people is on the wall. A population. Besides, I mean deforestation in that. But how did they take two people? Well, it’s really interesting because I think they know us. We have reason to think that they recognize individual humans. They see often, um, they noticeably relax over time. Um, with you, if it’s saying the same people over, never again and they they seem to kind of wake up and have a look at you and then go back to snow zing in a really nice way. What? When I know you will, um, they will sometimes come out of the tree and walk on the ground in front of an observer who they know where is that’s very rate with with a stranger. You know, that’s really crazy. Prevented from, um and I have been looking me at times where you know, it’s strange. Most wild animals died looking in the eyes. Yeah, come on, will straight in the eyes as if they’re just trying to reach into your soul and see who you are. And I think that’s the reason people connected corralled us on such an incredibly strong level because you really feel like you’re looking at a person. Yeah, now you’ve been setting them for how many years down? 0 20 own years. That that’s an amazing long time. I mean, I’m I’m curious. Are there any particular stance or anything that you’ve noticed over? It Sounds like a lot of the research that you guys were doing is really helping to save them. But any stats or research that you can share with people that kind of give them an idea of the population and what’s happening? Uh, no one’s really sure of the size of the population in Australia, but it’s been estimated to be between 700,000 animals. Which kind of sounds a kite, isn’t it? Yeah, but But it’s it’s not. It’s probably on the lowest side of that on. The fact is that there’s just not enough research being done. So even the scientists who estimated that said that they really are not sure that that’s really just arrange how you doing. And it seems crazy to make it so little races. She’s being done on such an iconic animal. Yeah, now, do they have natural predators or humans? Really, Their worst nightmare? I don’t feel like us. Most of the dive or gauge. That is a good thing. How long does the average call it live? Uh, these days. 15 years if they’re lucky, Um, but when I started 20 years with quite normal to expect for a first really feet. But it’s dropped by five years in that time, which is a big shock, and we’ve had 10 year olds die of old age, which isn’t good. A ttle thistle is another one of the problems. We have to find a change of probably the kidneys, Mariana to to lack of water. We’re getting a lot of renal failure on dhe tooth. We have problems which is also coming from, you know, poor food, that kind of thing. But as far as predators go, a dog will get makes it on the ground. But, um, in the old guys, that would have been a dingo. But I had ways of dealing with that. And I do chick, you know, before they come to the ground to make sure this site so no, they, I think, have natural controls over the population growth so that they didn’t interrupt, populate. Um, Aboriginal people didn’t hump in very much, which is really interesting. Why, Yeah, say out of respect or something for it for the animal. I’ve had a lot of different stories from different average know Berck Sur and Australia. But one thing that seems to be common is that koala wasn’t hunted very much that were respected. Revere looked up to a little bit too human. Um, unless people were desperate, of course. And then then they would make an exception. But I think that that says a lot of back Kerala’s because they are so special. Yeah, and I mean, I agree through they are I don’t think anybody has not heard of a quality. I mean, almost every school. I mean, they they talk about it, and they are unique to Australia and something that Ozzy’s could be proud of for sure. Yes. And if we lose koala’s from the planet, we don’t just lose a spacey’s and a genius. We lose a family, they don’t have any close relatives. And this is a position that Australia should not be. You. You know, we’ve done that before, and we should never, ever go there again. Today we’re already to talk with the extinction list for mammals. And that’s no, it’s not a happy place to bay. Yeah, that’s definitely not a position that you want to be. Now I have to bring up because I know one of the common things that people mistake cause they calm koala bears. So how do you explain to people? Why is it different? Why is that wrong? Well, thanks, son. Not related to Bish Thea, Everything they have in common with bears is that they got here. You may smoke alarm. Come on, Horses. Wait. They looked like a teddy. Did I feeling Do you sure? Uh oh. Sorry. I just threw in a nosey babe that failing remains. I really do. Okay, it z slang to, um uh, but they just start up is also called Kamala Base. Really? So that’s nothing that really Americans and Europeans. Yeah, exactly. Entries here all the time. You D’oh! What? I had to bring it up, right? Because I’m sure with a lot of the tourism that that you do is it’s gonna be one of those annoyances, like, stop calling them Barry’s people. They’re not bears. It’s kind of cute. I don’t mind too much. You know, that’s the worst thing someone does. It’s not that bad. If somebody is listening to this, and I mean, what do you do? Like how I’m appear in the in the US And what can I do that’s gonna help? Um, planted tree? Uh, it doesn’t matter if it’s in your country or in Elst. Trees are our front line warriors against climate change. They suck up. So much happened. Um, And your forests, Justus important koalas is our forests, if you know what I mean. Yeah, on any koalas can’t ate your forest, but your forest is is so critical to caving the planet. The equilibrium of the planet in a in a spice that way can liveries and the tight end with, um so you protect your forests like crazy? Uh um I would cite, um uh oh, we’ve got an event coming up. Can I tell you about Yeah, please. It’s international. We will get international coverage for this. It’s cold. Wild koala die! It’s on Friday night, the food. Okay, so coming up this week? Yes. And it’s a dying to celebrate Kerala’s and forests. So? So it’s not a date. A post your picture of calling a koala In a world of Parker, as of now, it’s a day to to connect. You know, the koala with primary food and habitat, which is what I think it, you know, it is important for all animals. A wild animals particular is that their food is their life. And and unfortunately, I think through this Internet agent Instagram age people of separating the animal from its environment in their minds. I’m that something where we’ve got to get back Thio today the old understanding that animals need help it so now is the intent of of wild quality to raise awareness. Is it to get people to plant more trees. What? What people do on well quality. Well, we’re asking people to do three things for this world. Koala Day on dhe one. You could do in some of your states in the United States. Go outside, pick up eucalyptus life from the ground now in California, that would wake tonight. It’s true. It’s gonna sound not true works in Wisconsin, but I know I don’t know any leaf will do and pin it to your shirt for the death. Nice. That’s biodegradable. It’s free, requires no preparation. And it’s just a little reminder. You know, old day that that tree is what makes life for an animal, and it’s not doing any harm because it’s already falling to the ground. So don’t take it off the tree labor dormitory where it is. But if if there’s a nonce fresh one on the ground gun Kennedy shit. So all diesel over will be doing Mace, including some of the politicians this year. Rich’s great to say, and it helps them to to be reminded that forests everything for our world. Yeah, I love that I love it. Sze something so simple because people are gonna obviously ask you why do you have a leaf pinned on T o? Surely everyone in the world could finally feeling the invite in the house. Who? What is I can’t not that that makes me sad. Yeah, we’re gonna hope that they can, because I idea something so simple, and I would absolutely agree there and encourage you. And I know I’ll be doing it on Dhe. Take pictures and shared on Instagram and Facebook and all those things to let people know it is something simple that can raise the awareness. And then when we’re aware, right, we can make changes. Yes. Absolutely. Really. And if you haven’t got a lake nearby, then maybe it’s time to plant a jury so that you can have a life next to you. Yeah, Traci, Traci, everything. I really, uh and I know I’m not all places. Name trees. There’s deserts and environments where they shouldn’t have trace. But away from a plant is is really important. Patent plants are important on the same thing we’re asking people to do is to change their profile picture to a wild Kamala for the death. I love to say pictures of beautiful Welcome, Mollify, sizzle over of a social media. It’s not so easy. And if you don’t have one yourself if you haven’t been to Australia recently, Chris, uh, you can have one of that’s Oh, even better. Yes, so every day we’re posting in your square shaped profile picture of a koala on a Facebook page, and I’ll also be available on the Web site. The world qualify whips up and you are welcome infecting courage to down light it us and use it for your own for that time. Very cool. I’ll definitely be doing that. And that’s something that’s so simple. So I’m glad that you mentioned that people could get the picture because I just I haven’t been to Australia recently. So looking forward to taking one of yours. Oh, and when you come, have we got something for you? Kerala’s of a best when you say there is a wild right. So what’s the third thing I know? You said there’s three things. Yes, this is where we get political. Okay, so we’re asking people to find a politician and say to them Kabbalah, zehr important tonight and you know what? That’s all I need to do. You don’t need to get into a long discussion about why or wherefore policies or loss. It has been known certainly in Australia for a politician to change the of ocean on a bill based on 7 to 10 phone calls on an issue only that’s it. Well, since no so if you Because they know that everyone personal calls represents 10 or 100 people who don’t call. Yeah, And I think that’s a really something so simple, right? Like, you just think Wallace are important to me. I have a great day, that’s all. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just just take that word in there, and this is working your country as well. Now, I know your politicians can’t do much necessarily better aka Wallace, but it works every way. Really? I mean, in your case, it could be I don’t know. What would it be? What animal could have big. Yeah. Pick your favorite animal. I mean, but animals are important to me, right? Yeah. Forrester important today, anything like that on. And once you get a bit of a movement and a few people doing it, In fact, last year, on the day after World Koala day an Australian state changed its land clearing laws for the positive. Now we can’t say that was because of welcome holiday. Exactly. But we also can’t say it wasn’t. The timing was very interesting. They’re little movements like this. Just added by one or two people can actually make a really big difference. Yeah, I I think you stated it perfectly. I think we can make a difference, right? And there’s enough of us that are doing this. And you know, it is these little things and you raise the awareness and again once people where they can make a conscious change. And there are so many little things that can be done to contribute to the bigger things. That’s really what it takes. Yes, yes. And I know a lot of people in your organizational members of yours are so flat out, you know this so under the pump, really trying to just get the daily things done. It’s really hard to find time, but also I mean, you guys, Americans are so fantastic, it communication. So So, uh, just a little bit of communication and working together than you can do so much. Well, I’m anxious to see what we’re gonna be able to do to try and help raise awareness. Like I said, I know I’ll be changing my Facebook and Instagram and all the other profile pics to do my part to raise awareness. And I will be certainly wearing a least that day. And I would encourage our listeners to spread the word and share because I think even just for one day we together can show the impact that we can have. No, thank you. That’s wonderful. So, Janine, it’s been so nice to talk to you. And I’m really excited that, you know, our timing kind of worked out for a while. Koala day. Is there anything else that you wanted to share with our listeners before we wrap things up? Come, T o. I know times like this a lot of people feel nervous about long hold travel on and the impact that might have, you know, on the climate. But we need you wear. Really? Do we can’t. We took a smaller population to get a lot of the good things done if we don’t get international visitors. So if you if you can come down and share part of Australia, um, with wildlife, with responsible companies who who were trying to make a difference for for our life. You’ll have a fantastic time because of these. A terrific, bright found very welcoming on Dhe, and you’ll be contributing enormously to row by the best city in Australia. We can’t do it without you. That’s wonderful. And I I definitely look forward to coming down. It’s it’s on my list. Like I was telling you, my wife has been bugging me that we need to go. So this is all the more reason and impetus now that I need to come down and visit. So oh yeah, I’m so glad that you came on the program today. It was wonderful to talk to you. Oh, you too, Chris. Thank you so much for reaching out. It’s It’s wonderful. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a member, joined the Air P A. To take advantage of all the resources we have to offer. And don’t forget to sign up with do bert dot com. It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue