As Australia burned, we mourned the loss of our koalas. They're now being killed by humans.

Warning: Distressing content.

Last week, Helen Oakley was hiking at Cape Bridgewater, Victoria, when she stumbled upon dozens of dead koalas. As she discovered, a recent logging operation in the state’s south-west had destroyed the local koalas’ natural habitat.

The Portland resident found many koalas dead and decomposed, while others who had survived the ‘massacre’ were distressed and displaced.

“Australia should be ashamed,” Helen tearfully recounted in a Facebook video that has since gone viral. “They’ve bulldozed 140 acres down and just killed all of our koalas…

“Nobody has done anything. Look at the destruction they’ve done,” Helen continued. The local resident shared photos of the koalas to her Facebook, showing the state the natural fauna had been left in.

Koalas Portland
Helen Oakley found this dead koala at Cape Bridgewater. Image: Facebook/Helen Oakley.

Victoria's Environment Minister has since confirmed that at least 40 koalas have died. This includes 25 who have had to be euthanased by vets due to injuries. More are currently being assessed, with reports suggesting many are suffering from extreme starvation.

Public outrage has, of course, ensued.

Adding to the great distress of this carnage is the devastation only recently experienced by Australia's koala population due to the bushfires. On Kangaroo Island alone, 30,000 koalas were killed.

Consequently, koalas are at a greater risk than ever before to be listed as endangered. Australians watched as videos emerged of burnt animals escaping their ravaged habitats, feeling hopeless and helpless.

Disturbingly, this case of killed koalas is directly due to human action.

Koalas Portland
Helen Oakley revealed on Facebook that this koala has since been euthanised due to injury. Image: Facebook/Helen Oakley.

As Friends Of The Earth reports, "according to our local sources, hundreds of koalas may have been killed or injured during logging activities this week alone."

Indeed, this activity is illegal. Under the Wildlife Act 1975, it is against the law to kill, injure or disturb koalas without authorisation. Not only that, but in January 2017, the Victorian State Government announced that it was mandatory for plantation operators to report all injuries and deaths of koalas. But clearly no one had reported the deaths of these koalas until Helen found them.

Logging company South West Fibre has confirmed they were at the site in December last year to harvest blue gum, but insists the koalas were in good health and "left an appropriate number of habitat trees for the existing koala population." They added that "subsequent to South West Fibre completing its work, the remaining trees have since been cleared."

Hence, with no one taking responsibility, the Victorian Government has promised a thorough investigation into what has happened.

"What I'm… deadly serious about is bringing to account every single person who is responsible for this devastation," Victoria's Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said on Monday, according to ABC.

"It is a crime, it is cruel. And it should not be allowed to be gotten away with."

Indeed, these koalas have experienced blatant animal cruelty at the hands of humans. And as Helen so poignantly said, "Australia should be ashamed."

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