Koalas at risk
In the past, koalas used to live in much of coastal and inland Queensland, NSW, Victoria and south-eastern South Australia. Now koalas are declining rapidly across Australia due to a range of threats including habitat fragmentation and degradation, unsustainable development and disease. Today koalas have disappeared from almost 75% of their original range.
Koalas in NSW are listed as “vulnerable” under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and are at risk of becoming one of our first climate change refugee species.
A range of strategies are needed to help address the decline of koalas in NSW. Members of the community can play an important role in collecting data on koala populations through Citizen Science initiatives such as our annual Koala Count.
Landholders can play a particularly important role. With over 80% of koalas in NSW found outside of protected areas, private land owners can assist by protecting and reconnecting koala habitat on their properties.
Better understanding koala populations
NPA, and particularly our Coffs Harbour-Bellingen branch, has been involved in a project to map koala populations in northeast NSW. Stages 1 and 2, which involved mapping populations in the Clarence-Richmond and Bellingen-Nambucca regions, were completed in January 2013.
Stage 3, which is still being developed, will expand the mapping to include the entire north-east NSW area, from the Queensland border to the Hunter River Floodplain, between the NSW coast and the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range. This study area matches the area assessed in NPA’s report on the World Heritage values of the Eucalypt forests of northeast NSW. There is potential for forests in this area to receive World Heritage listing, which would benefit Koala populations, as it is likely to include areas of key Koala habitat.