The NSW Government has released its new Koala Strategy, backed by an unprecedented amount of funding and more than 30 actions to conserve and grow koala populations.
Environment Minister James Griffin said the 5-year plan is a comprehensive roadmap that will help deliver the NSW Government’s ambition to double the number of koalas.
‘This $193.3 million NSW Koala Strategy is the biggest financial commitment by any government to secure the future of koalas in the wild,’ Mr Griffin said.
‘In fact, this is the largest investment in any single species in Australia, and demonstrates how committed we are to conservation and achieving our goal of doubling koala numbers by 2050.
‘We know there are multiple threats to koalas, including loss and fragmentation of their habitat, compounded by the impact of the devastating 2019–20 bushfires, as well as vehicle strike and dog attack.’
The Strategy focuses on conservation actions under 4 themes:
- $107.1 million for koala habitat conservation, to fund the protection, restoration, and improved management of 47,000 hectares of koala habitat
- $19.6 million to supporting local communities to conserve koalas
- $23.2 million for improving the safety and health of koalas by removing threats, improving health and rehabilitation, and establishing a translocation program
- $43.4 million to support science and research to build our knowledge of koalas.
‘This strategy will better secure 10 climate resilient koala stronghold locations from the Southern Tablelands, to Campbelltown and Lismore, which will receive intensive action in the next 5 years to support the existing populations there,’ Mr Griffin said.
‘Some of these actions include preventing vehicle strike and dog attacks, and restoring and protecting 47,000 additional hectares of habitat.’
A key part of the Koala Strategy involves establishing partnerships with conservation groups and communities.
Projects funded by the new Koala Strategy include:
- Partnering with Taronga Conservation Society Australia to restore more than 5,000 hectares of Box Gum grassy woodlands around the Western Slopes of the Great Dividing Range. Koalas will be translocated to the site once the woodland is re-established.
- Partnering with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia to protect 500 hectares of high quality koala habitat on private land under conservation agreements across the Northern Rivers region through the Biodiversity Conversation Trust.
- Working with volunteer wildlife rehabilitators, vets and other partner organisations to enhance co-ordination of emergency response for koalas and other wildlife due to bushfire or extreme weather events.
‘We all want to see koalas thrive in the wild for generations to come, and everyone, including land managers, local councils, wildlife carers, citizen scientists and the NSW Government needs to be involved,’ Mr Griffin said.
‘Protecting and restoring habitat will also support other threatened and endangered species, such as powerful owls and glossy black cockatoos.’
The strategy will help to fill key knowledge gaps and fund priority scientific studies to support koalas, including chlamydia vaccine trials.
The new strategy builds upon the previous $44.7 million NSW Koala Strategy, which protected more koala habitat, invested in fixing koala roadkill hotspots, provided wildlife care training and funded scientific research, among other things.
To read the Koala Strategy, visit the NSW Koala Strategy page.