Koala Populations Declining By More Than 40% In NSW


THE Australian Koala Foundation (AKF) has released figures that show rapid decline in koala populations.

Their information shows that since 2018 koala numbers across Australia have reduced from populations of between 45,745 to 82,170 to a currently-estimated 32,065 to 57,920.

The AKF has invested millions of dollars and 30 years of research into the creation of the Koala Habitat Atlas, and periodically revises the koala population.

The AKF has estimated koala numbers in each of the 128 federal electorates that have, or did have, koalas since white settlement.

The numbers show a disturbing trend, with a 30% decline in total national koala population since 2018.

NSW is the worst with a 41% decline and every region across Australia saw a decline in population.

Koalas are now extinct in 47 electorates and only one electorate, Mayo, has more than 5000 koalas.

Some regions have remaining populations estimated to be as small as just 5-10 koalas.

AKF figures show that Cowper has the largest koala population in NSW, but numbers are still dropping.

Cowper is one of only four electorates with more than 60% of its original koala habitat remaining.

Chair of the Australian Koala Foundation, Deborah Tabart OAM, said she is hoping Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley will take notice of these numbers and do more to protect koala habitat.

Ms Tabart said, “Each and every federal politician in these electorates should now be on notice to protect not only the koalas in their electorate but the habitat that remains.

“The good news is that in many cases there is good habitat left – now.

“The terrible bushfires of 2019-20, of course, contributed to this outcome, but they are certainly not the only reason we are seeing koala populations on the decline.

“Land clearing is lethal to koala populations,” she said.

“Over the past few years, we have seen huge land clearance, particularly across NSW and South East Queensland, for farming, housing development and mining.”

Ms Tabart said that offsets don’t work and that it is well established that displaced koalas die.

“We have witnessed a drastic decrease in inland populations because of drought, heat waves, and lack of water for koalas to drink.

“I have seen some landscapes that look like the moon – with dead and dying trees everywhere.”

The AKF says that urgent action to stop land clearing in prime koala habitat is required if we are to save them.

Ms Tabart said, “We need a Koala Protection Act now which can and will do exactly that; why won’t our political leaders just sign that into being?”

To view the full figures, including the percentage of remaining koala habitat across Australia, visit www.savethekoala.com.


By Andrew VIVIAN

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