Watch Loggers Cut Down a Tree While a Koala and Her Baby Cling On for Dear Life

The video highlights a battle between the Australian timber industry and animal activists over protection for the marsupial.
Feb 10, 2015·
Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife.

The video is hard to watch: A giant, screeching machine tears into a blue gum forest in Australia, felling a tree inhabited by a koala and her joey.

In 37 seconds, the video captures the struggle for land between loggers and the tree-dwelling marsupial, whose numbers are declining across Australia as forests are razed to build housing developments and shopping malls.

The mother survived the fall, but the health of the baby is not known, according to nonprofit group Friends of the Earth.

“This was a private land operation, and the woman who took the footage was verbally assaulted and refused access when she tried to access the site and check on the baby,” said Anthony Amis, a Friends of the Earth spokesperson. “The person that took the footage went back to the site a day later and found three very sick and injured koalas—one had to be euthanized because it had maggots in it,” Amis said.

Logging companies typically deploy spotters alongside bulldozer operators who make sure no koalas are in the trees targeted for cutting.

“There are very clear rules about the way sustainable forestry is conducted in our state, and everybody should abide by those rules,” Daniel Andrews, the premier of the state of Victoria, told 7News Melbourne. But that apparently was not the case at Australian Bluegum Plantations.

The incident is not the first time ABP has been in hot water with animal activists: In 2013 the company—the country’s largest exporter of wood chips—had to suspend logging in key koala habitats after it was found responsible for the deaths of the marsupials at one of its plantations.

Karen Mason at Wildlife Victoria told 7News Melbourne that people were monitoring the koala that survived the fall.

“Rather than stress her anymore, we’re just monitoring her from a distance, and hopefully she’ll be okay,” Mason said. “We would like to see these people prosecuted. This is cruelty.”

The incident has been reported to Australian authorities, who are investigating the plantation.