Establishment of the Australia-Japan Wildlife Conservation and Education Foundation
Considerable time has passed since the first reports of the effects on animals stemming from the world-wide destruction of the environment and ecosystems caused by urbanisation and other by-products of the development of modern society. Despite efforts to address this, however, this destruction continues unabated, resulting in the loss of wild animal habitat, the extinction of some species and a fall in the numbers of other species to dangerously low levels.
In Australia also, more than 50 species of animals are known to have become extinct since colonisation of the continent approximately 200 years ago. The number of species presently endangered, or likely to become endangered in the future has reached 370, one example being that of the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat of which there are now just approximately 130 in the Epping Forest National Park. Isolated from other continents for millions of years, the Australian continent has many animals that have evolved in a unique fashion, including marsupials, such as koalas and kangaroos, and the monotremes – the echidna and platypus - that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. In many instances, the extinction of an Australian animal means its disappearance from the planet as a whole. As such, these animals are not just important to Australia, but are the treasures of the world.
Despite an area some 21 times that of Japan, Australia has a population of only 21 million, less than that of the Greater Tokyo Area. This makes it difficult for Australia alone to protect the animals that inhabit the vast countryside. How wonderful it would be to gain the understanding and support of the people of Japan, who have a strong friendship with Australia, in protecting these animals. I am certain that in the future, with a broader circle of international cooperation and better protection of the global environment and ecosystems based on a concept of the coexistence of humans and nature, mankind as a whole will also experience greater prosperity.
In closing, it is my sincere hope that there will also be further exchanges between the people of Australia and Japan through wildlife conservation activities in the spirit of mutual understanding and respect, leading to the further strengthening of ties between the two nations.
Australia-Japan Wildlife Conservation and Education Foundation
Tetsuo Mizuno DVM, PhD
Executive Director & CEO
PhD in Veterinary Science, former Research Fellow in the School of Veterinary Science, University of Queensland, Chief Scientist and Consultant, HerdVac Pty., Ltd. (a spin-off company established by the University of Queensland))