The northern rivers’ lead koala conservation organization, Friends of the Koala, has helped start a new alliance devoted to the protection and survival of Australia’s remaining koala populations.
The National Koala Alliance (NKA), which was launched yesterday, aims to ensure the national icon survives and thrives for future generations. It is a non-profit network of koala conservation, welfare, advocacy and research groups working in habitat conservation, political lobbying and the protection of individual koalas.
The NKA grew out of the National Koala Conference held in Port Macquarie in May 2013, where many koala experts came together and identified a need to join forces to save the unique animal.
President of Friends of the Koala, Lorraine Vass said the koala had ‘an intrinsic value to our ecosystems, our economy and to us as a nation that is irreplaceable, yet koalas everywhere are being pushed to the brink.’
‘If we don’t protect these very special creatures we are in danger of losing them, not just in NSW but other states as well,’ Mrs Vass said.
We need to immediately protect koalas from the catastrophic consequences of NSW government policies.
Highway upgrade threat
Mrs Vass highlighted the damaged caused by unsympathetic infrastructure development such as the Pacific Highway upgrade in the northern rivers, ‘in particular the controversial, conditionally approved Section 10, which is threatening the survival of a nationally significant population of around 200 koalas’.
‘Biodiversity legislation is being watered down and koala habitat is being destroyed by coastal peri-urban development and other harmful activities such as industrial-scale logging in the state’s forests, poorly regulated private native forestry and mining.
‘Right across NSW the Baird Government is simply abrogating its responsibility and turning a blind eye to keeping our remaining koalas safe,’ she said.
National approach needed
NKA Coordinator Greg Johnstone said the situation facing koalas is so critical that a national approach to their conservation is now needed.
‘Koalas are an important flagship species. If koalas are dying, it indicates that other species are in trouble too. Approximately 50 per cent of threatened species in Australia occur within koala habitat areas.
‘The NKA’s goal is to ensure the koala’s survival with a strong, united and cohesive voice for koala conservation and protection.’ Mr Johnstone said.