Our koalas are in serious trouble. Habitat loss and fragmentation due to land clearing and urban development has already resulted in koalas disappearing from 75% of their former range in NSW and numbers have plummeted by a third in just twenty years. Most of the remaining high quality koala habitat lies in state forests and on private land where clearing of native vegetation and logging is leading to the removal of vital food and habitat trees. In the future the changing climate will serve to further exacerbate these threats.
The Great Koala National Park is a grand plan to secure the future of our koalas before it is too late.
Part of a strategic koala reserve plan, the new park will include two internationally significant koala metapopulations, estimated to contain almost 20% of the state’s remaining wild koalas. This significant new national park can be created by combining 175,000 ha of state forest with 140,000 ha of existing protected area in the Coffs Harbour region, to form a 315,000 ha refuge for our koalas. Our proposal is backed by extensive research by individuals and organisations on the NSW north coast including the Bellingen Environment Centre, Clarence Environment Centre, Nambucca Valley Conservation Association Inc., the North Coast Environment Council and the North East Forest Alliance.
This spectacular landscape hosts lush World Heritage rainforests, some of the world’s most diverse towering eucalypt forests, and an array of threatened species, such as the Hastings River Mouse, Powerful Owl and Spotted-tailed Quoll. By establishing the Great Koala National Park we would be protecting not only our iconic koala, but the ecosystems and species that share their home.
Why do we need a Great Koala National Park?
Large and well-managed protected areas remain the single most effective tool to conserving species and their habitat. The Great Koala National Park, which forms part of a strategic koala reserve plan, is the best chance for our koalas to have a secure future in NSW.
Despite the global status of the koala as the second most recognised animal in the world after the Giant Panda, no national conservation reserve has been set aside to ensure the species long-term protection. By contrast, China has established a national park covering one million hectares of bamboo forest to protect their Pandas.
In addition to protecting our national icon, the Great Koala National Park will serve as a haven for a wealth of other threatened and native species and protect the towering forests in which they live.
But it’s not just our environment that will benefit. A Great Koala National Park will also provide long-term, sustainable economic and cultural benefits to surrounding communities such as Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Dorrigo. In addition, the park will provide less visible but vital benefits, such as safeguarding water supplies and carbon storage.
To learn more about our Great Koala National Park campaign, visit www.koalapark.org.au