Blog repurposed with permission from conservationtravel.com.au
Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours and the Koala Clancy Foundations’ remarkable achievements over the past 24 months are linked to efforts by thousands of committed wildlife conservationists and to climate activist organisations around the world.
After 24 months of uncertainty, we look back at 5 of the best examples of conservation travel from Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours.
#1 - How koalas’ drinking habits became world news
On 3 May 2020 (Wild Koala Day) the high profile scientific magazine, Ethology, published a study by the University of Sydney that shattered the long held myth that koalas don’t drink.
The study proved that koalas drink water that flows down the trunk of trees when it rains and also shows that koalas drinking habits are changing due to drying caused by climate change.
Koala licking stemflow water in the You Yangs. Image: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours
The bulk of this research was based on data collected by Echidna Walkabout on tours in the You Yangs Range (near Melbourne) over many years.
#2 - Echidna Walkabout helps Australia win Lonely Planet Best In Travel Award
Australia won the Best Community Restoration Award in Lonely Planet’s Best In Travel Awards 2021, for the response to the Black Summer bushfires. Echidna Walkabout and Koala Clancy Foundations’ koala tree planting project was one of the community recovery efforts recognised in the award.
Watch the official award video:
#3 - A global effort plants 40,000+ trees in 24 months in a pandemic
This remarkable tally was made possible by the combined effort of Koala Clancy Foundation staff and volunteers, Echidna Walkabout staff, amazing support from landowners, Landcare East Gippsland and the generous support of donors both locally and across the world.
The Koala Clancy Foundation has planted close on 60,000 trees with a target is to plant 300,000 koala trees by 2030.
Tree guards protecting plants from herbivore grazing. Image: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours
Echidna Walkabout’s tourism skills were pivotal in smoothing the nightmarish logistics of getting people and resources to tree planting sites during Covid lockdowns.
#4 - The link between Conservation Travel and Climate Change
Never before has it been so important to link the impacts of climate change on tourism.
Echidna Walkabout has been at the forefront of promoting climate action. Some of our efforts in the past 24 months have included:
- Became active participant in the global Future of Tourism community
- Joined Tourism Declares a climate emergencyLaunch Partner of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism at COP26 in November 2021
- With the We Mean Business Coalition —representing 10 million people and 778 global business — we co-signed a letter to all members of the G20 calling for swift, decisive action on climate change.
- Throughout the next 12 months Echidna Walkabout will be updating its Action Plan to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030. Read more here.
#5 - Koala Clancy Foundation leaps ahead
As our immediate focus moved away from tourism (we could not operate tours anyway) and more towards positive conservation, the Koala Clancy Foundation promotional and fundraising efforts increased exponentially. Janine Duffy spearheaded these efforts — here’s are 4 highlights (there are many more):
- KCF joined the Restor global initiative as a founding member — this project is a game changer that measures soil carbon across the globe and is supported by Google. Go to Restor’s website
- Cryptocurrency organisation, Binance Charity, donated to KCF allowing the planting of 45,000 trees near Melbourne and in fire impacted East Gippsland
- The famous Sun Theatre supported a professionally filmed and a very powerful promotional video. Watch it here.
- Wrote an Open Letter to Government: Koalas Need Habitat, Now. It was signed by 25 koala organisations across Australia, supported by koala scientists and called for the protection of koalas. It was published by newspapers all around Australia.
Father and son plant a seedling that will help create future koala habitat. Image: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours