HAVING read the distressing story this morning that dozens of Koala bears were found dead at a Blue Gum/Eucalyptus Tree timber plantation in Victoria, Australia, set me musing on the wider implications of this.

Many people will know that this tree species constitutes the habitat and food sources for this endearing mammal.

These had been all but eradicated in December because the timber had been harvested for commercial gain, leaving only a few isolated trees standing.

Some Koalas had starved to death and others were killed by bulldozers. Only some 80 Koalas survived, have been removed and are being cared for.

We have all witnessed the horrific bushfires and tragic effects on humans and wildlife. There is little doubt that anthropogenic causal factors play a great part in these fires through global warming.

Koalas are one species of Australian wildlife; many others perished also, many have become extinct. Koalas are now being considered 'endangered'.

Returning to musing on the implications of harvesting the Eucalyptus trees and subsequent effects on the Koalas, this was a cruel tragedy perpetrated by humans. Probably avoidable - the Koalas could have been humanely removed and transported to safer havens so more would have survived.

This is analogous to the treatment of wildlife in our own country (Britain).

Laws exist to protect our wildlife. But how often do we hear of the cruelty involved in their treatment as 'collateral damage' during development/illegal activities, e.g: badger-baiting? How often are we appalled at the leniency of the sentences imposed?

Koalas, as mentioned, are endearing, cuddly. But these are not stipulations for their perpetuation, survival; such qualities invoke empathy.

The point is that most living creatures are sentient, feel pain.

That, in itself, should be a stipulation for their survival, their humane removal to safer havens.

This brings me to drawing another analogy - the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

This world has witnessed such horror inflicted on a race of people in the pursuit of a revolting masterplan. These, too, were sentient beings. These, too, were treated as 'collateral damage'.

To remain in contact with our humanity, we must protect those who cannot protect themselves - be they animal or human - not turn our faces away out of apathy, cowardice: such cruel perpetrators need to be exposed, called to account, or our humanity will be lost.