MEDIA RELEASE – Echidna Walkabout
Koala documentary highlights direction for You Yangs Master Plan
Local wildlife tour operator, Echidna Walkabout, will guide a major European wildlife documentary team exploring the conservation of koalas in the You Yangs Range near the city of Geelong, in southern-eastern Australia.
The documentary will focus on the impact of climate change and tree clearing on koalas and screen on TV in Germany and France to an audience of 5 million.
“The economic, promotional and feel good benefits to the region of documentaries like this are astronomical,” said Roger Smith, Echidna Walkabout’s Operations Director.
“Recent United Nations and World Bank reports show that multi day tourism visits based on wildlife conservation initiatives can quadruple local income.”
Each year Echidna Walkabout brings over 10,000 international visitors into the region to see koalas and other Australian wildlife in the wild.
“Growing international fascination with the You Yangs region is highlighted by the choice of location for the documentary”, said Mr Smith, “That’s great for the region; we’ve estimated that annually each koala in the You Yangs is worth at least $25,000 to the local economy.”
“Our overseas guests come to see and learn about koalas in the You Yangs and kangaroos at nearby Serendip Sanctuary.” said Mr Smith, “Modern travellers want to get involved in conservation work and love our ‘help nature while you enjoy it’ program; that’s what got the attention of the documentary maker.”
“Many European audiences are worried about dramatic declines in wildlife worldwide which means they like to watch documentaries that not only portray wildlife but also investigate efforts made to conserve and protect wildlife in the wild into the future”, said Mr Smith
“The You Yangs koalas will be highlighted because of the major effort put in by Echidna Walkabout and it’s not-for-profit, Koala Clancy Foundation, to conserve koalas in and around the You Yangs – it’s a classic win-win story.”
“We’ve worked with numerous documentary makers in the You Yangs over the past 26 years but this team will be the first that focuses exclusively on the plight of koalas as climate change impacts on their survival in the wild.” said Mr Smith. (*see some previous videos shorts at end of this release)
Parks Victoria is currently drafting a Master Plan for the You Yangs and Serendip Sanctuary which is expected to be released before the end of the year.
“What comes out of this Plan will be critical to the future survival of koalas and the burgeoning international wildlife tourism industry in the region.” said Mr Smith.
“We’ve provided Parks Victoria with a major three part submission detailing a method to re-energise the region by focussing on international wildlife tourism that emphasises conserving wildlife in the wild; this will continue to bring international visitors into the region.” (see Summary page of primary submission)
“Even the film crew will bring economic benefit by lodging in a Little River B&B, buying all their provisions locally, hiring vehicles, buying fuel and much more”, said Mr Smith.
Roger Smith 🐾
Director: Operations & Groups
Echidna Walkabout – Melbourne – AUSTRALIA
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