Scientists urge Government to suspend logging in Great Koala National Park

A koala injured during logging in Tarkeeth State Forest that later died. Photo: Tim Cadman.

ELEVEN scientists from five universities have written to the NSW Government to urge it to honour its commitment to create a Great Koala National Park (GKNP).

“We are collectively writing to you as researchers, academics, and practitioners with expertise in various aspects of koala physiology, conservation, history and management regarding the proposed Great Koala National Park (GKNP),” the scientists wrote.

After congratulating the Government on its commitment to koala conservation and the allocation of funds for a range of related activities, including implementation of the GKNP, and compensation for forestry workers impacted by the re-allocation of production forests for conservation purposes, the scientists laid out their requests and reasons for them.

They urge the Minns Government to suspend forestry operations across the proposed GKNP footprint, initiate an independent assessment of the forests of the proposed GKNP for their conservation values and habitat suitability, identify and restore critical habitat lost to forestry operations and bushfires, and ensure that reserve design is focused on the maximisation of habitat at a landscape level.

The scientists wrote that without those actions, the viability of these koala populations of the Mid North Coast “will be at significant risk”.

The letter points out what conservationists have been saying for a long time, that the Mid North Coast of New South Wales is a vitally important stronghold for koalas because it is home to one of the largest wild koala populations in Australia and that land clearing, including forestry, is the major danger to their existence.

Despite sending the letter at the beginning of the month to Premier Minns and three ministers, no reply has yet been received.

The letter finishes with an offer of assistance in collaborating to protect koalas.

“There are two very important issues to consider,” said Dr Tim Cadman, one of the signatories.

“The first is that koalas can’t read a map, so they can’t tell the difference between an area that is zoned plantation and an area that is zoned native forest.

“(The second is) Forestry Corporation is clear felling plantations inside the Great Koala National Park, but it is still koala habitat.

“Not only are koalas being injured, they are starving, because suddenly most of their food source has gone.

“My colleagues, who are experts in koalas, tell me that these activities are pushing koalas closer to extinction,” Dr Cadman said.

The full letter is the second article at

By Andrew VIVIAN

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