At Great Southern Escapes we provide nature based tours however we also provide environmental contracting services through our subsiduary business Eco Balance Services.
Our services include erosion control and revegetation as well as noxious and environmental weed control . We hold the necessary licencing and accreditations to carry out this type of work and typically provide our services to shire councils, landcare groups and private landholders.
At Great Southern Escapes we have a strong commitment to giving back to our community and our environment. We decided to choose a local environmental issue to support which would not only make an impact at a local level but make a difference in the overall fight to mitigate climate change. Our fight involves the plight of the Strzelecki koala.
THE STRZELECKI KOALA
Many people don't realise that koalas in the wild in Victoria were all but extinct only a little over half a century ago. A handful of koalas were transfered to French Island in the 1890's and were able to breed successfully enough that koalas could be reintroduced to the mainland, however these koalas had become inbred and almost all of the koalas in southern Victoria are decendants of these koalas. They suffer from diseases which are directly attributable to the inbreeding.
The Strzelecki koala however is genetically pure and not a decendant of the French Island koalas. It is believed that the purity of the genetics holds the key to the survival of the koala as a species which is important remembering that koalas are close to endangered in most states. The Strzelecki koala is limited to the highlands of South Gippsland which is an area that has been and continues to be heavily logged on privately owned timber plantations. This puts koalas at significant risk as their habitat is being destroyed potentially pushing them into overcrowded colonies where the risk of the spread of disease and starvation is magnified.
Our mission quite simply is to help fund and manage revegetation projects which will provide habitat to support the Strzelecki koala, create valuable wildlife corridors and improve land and water quality in the Strzelecki ranges.
Our plan is to involve local landcare groups, landholders and shire councils to identify areas suitable to carry out revegetation projects. Targeting sites within the catchment area which are degraded, our objective is to achieve several outcomes which include reducing landslip, improving water quality in streams and a contribution to climate change mitigation.
Our part in the project is to fund the plants, manage the project, carry out the planting and maintain the site through to establishment. We can then monitor the sites for years to come and outcomes can be recorded and assessed for effectiveness.
Your part in this is equally as important. Each person who joins one of our tours has also funded a metre of stockproof fencing and five trees with guards and though that may not sound like much, consider that over the course of a year that works out to be thousands of trees planted each winter and a significant contribution to the survival of the Strzelecki koala.