Cyclists pedal to highlight plight of koalas and need for research

International voice of cycling and conservationist Phil Liggett undertook a bike ride in Adelaide today in the shape of a giant koala – one of our most loved iconic species.

The 103-kilometre Great Koala Ride was designed by the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) using ‘Strava Art’ to highlight the plight of koalas and the need for research to safeguard populations into the future.

Phil and his wife Trish are ambassadors for the International Koala Centre of Excellence (IKCE), based at Cleland Wildlife Park. The IKCE was launched last year to fund and direct koala research.

While koalas are plentiful in some parts of South Australia, in other parts of the country they have been declared vulnerable to extinction. Disease, climate change, loss of habitat, overcrowding and starvation, are key threats to koalas across Australia.

Late last year, five koalas and two wombats were sent to Longleat Safari Park in the UK as part of a ground-breaking initiative between the IKCE, Longleat Safari Park and the Government of South Australia to enhance the management and conservation of koalas.

A critical danger to koalas is oxalate nephrosis – a kidney disease which is thought to affect around 60 percent of koalas in the Adelaide Hills. The IKCE will lead vital research into oxalate nephrosis, including the potential causes and improved treatment options, with the aim to raise $A10 million over the next five years for koala research.

To find out more about the Great Koala Ride as well as the issues that impact koalas and why it’s vital we act to conserve this iconic species, visit the IKCE website.