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DEAL TO HONOUR STEVE IRWIN'S LEGACY
News Source: Sunshine Coast Daily (28th August 2007)

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An agreement signed today at Australia Zoo aims to help bring the northern hairy-nosed wombat back from the brink of extinction and continue the legacy of Steve Irwin.

Crocodiles, koalas and other native species will also benefit from conservation actions under the co-operative agreement signed by environment minister Lindy Nelson-Carr and Australia Zoo’s Terri Irwin.

"This MOU (memorandum of understanding) is so important to continue the co-operative research that Steve first initiated between the Queensland government and Australia Zoo," Mrs Irwin said.

"We will strive to honour Steve’s legacy by protecting the crocodiles he loved, saving more koalas through our Wildlife Hospital and, with this new agreement, join forces to ensure the survival of the northern hairy-nosed wombat."

Ms Nelson-Carr said the agreement highlighted the partnership between the zoo and the Environmental Protection Agency that had been in place for the past five years.

"Two previous agreements between the Queensland government and Australia Zoo have led to significant breakthroughs in crocodile research through the world-first Crocs in Space project and the establishment of a koala hospital.

"It’s exciting that this new accord has been expanded for the next two years to include actions to conserve the highly endangered northern hairy-nosed wombat, one of the most at-risk mammals in the world, with fewer than 150 living in just one area, at Epping Forest National Park (Scientific) near Clermont in central Queensland."

Member for Glasshouse Carolyn Male said the agreement would further enhance Australia Zoo’s world-wide reputation.

"I welcome that as part of the latest agreement, Terri Irwin has offered the EPA continued access to Croc One a specially designed, state-of-the-art, 22.8-metre research vessel for marine research projects," Ms Male said.

Ms Nelson-Carr said Australia Zoo and the EPA would build on the agency’s efforts to bring the northern hairy-nosed wombat back from the brink of extinction.

"Priority tasks will include maintaining and increasing the existing Epping Forest colony and establishing new colonies."


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