A report criticising the NSW Koala Strategy has added weight to a Gunnedah koala activist’s concerns that it fails to address habitat loss.
Martine Moran says the strategy doesn’t adequately address the protection and creation of habitat, which is vital in the fight to save the declining population of koalas.
Her fears are echoed in a report by WWF-Australia, the National Parks Association of NSW and the North East Forest Alliance. WWF said the strategy would not prevent the projected extinction of koalas, which it found could be as early as 2050.
“I think they need more reserves so there is going to be enough habitat for koalas,” Mrs Moran said.
“I think they need to protect the koala habitat at the moment and they need things in place to save that habitat.
“When people do the wrong thing and take the trees down, there needs to be something to stop them doing it.”
“The primary failing of the NSW Koala Strategy is that it ignores changes to legislation in 2017 that made it legal to clear 99 per cent of the state’s koala habitat,” the report’s lead author, WWF-Australia conservationist Dr Stuart Blanch said.
The koalas in the Gunnedah shire battle against numerous elements including drought, extreme heat, high prevalence of chlamydia and danger from vehicles.
Mrs Moran has been advocating for more than 15 years about “looking after the koalas we have got”.
“More needs to be done on this side of the range,” she said.
“That strategy is very much aimed at the coast and it doesn’t address all the issues koalas are experiencing here at the moment.”
While local landcare groups and landholders are already creating koala corridors in the shire, Mrs Moran said she wanted to see an incentive to encourage more people to become involved.
“We need to encourage people to be involved in providing more habitat for the koalas,” she said.
“I think landholders should be encouraged to keep the habitat on their properties.
“Koalas want that nice bit of land there. They don’t want to be out in the middle of a paddock with nothing there. They can’t live there. They have to have a tree.”
At the end of the day, Mrs Moran said “if the strategy is going to work, I think they need to bring all parties to the table to talk”.
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