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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Building a koala superhighway

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Koalas at Lismore's Friends of the Koala recovery centre. A deeper gene pool would help local koalas resist disease.
Koalas at Lismore’s Friends of the Koala recovery centre. A deeper gene pool would help local koalas resist disease.

Landholders between Lismore and Rosebank will be given a helping hand to plant koala feed trees to enable the marsupials to migrate between the north and south ends of the LGA in search of a mate.

It’s part of a project intended to boost koala habitat and strengthen the genetics of Lismore’s koalas.

Lismore City Council (LCC) and EnviTE Environment have received a $100,000 NSW Environment Trust grant to build the ‘koala superhighway’ to enable the two populations to interbreed and thereby deepen the gene pool of Lismore’s koalas.

This project follows on from a recent scientific study that revealed that Lismore’s southern koala population lacked genetic diversity, while the northern population is genetically diverse and has a fitter gene pool. A fit gene pool is key to helping koalas withstand disease and environmental pressures as well as improve fertility.

‘Our aim is to create green corridors that connect koala habitats between Lismore and the Rosebank area. We plan to restore and expand koala habitat on up to 30 properties and are now calling for landholders to get involved,’ said LCC’s ecologist Dr Damian Licari.

‘We are looking for people who are willing to help us restore as well as create new koala habitat. We will be working from Lismore to the Rosebank area to improve koala habitat on local properties and simultaneously create corridors that allow for the north–south koala movement that will increase interbreeding between the southern and northern koala populations.

‘This project implements actions in the Office of Environment and Heritage’s NSW Koala Recovery Plan and we hope to see some solid outcomes for our koalas.’

Council also has a second koala habitat restoration project taking place, which focuses on assisting farmers south of Lismore towards Coraki and Woodburn.

Lismore City Council is seeking expressions of interest from landholders across the Lismore local government area who would like to be involved in restoring or enhancing habitat for koalas on their properties.

If you would like to participate, please complete an Expression of Interest form by 11 September 2013. You can download a form or complete it online at www.envite.org.au/Expression-of-Interest.html. For more information phone EnviTE Environment on 6627 2800.

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