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Byron Shire
March 7, 2021

Byron koalas versus festival frolics

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The number of koalas in the coastal areas of Byron Shire was down to about 240 animals at last count in 2011.

Council has been preparing a plan of management for them because even our state government can see that koalas are in danger of being extinct. The state prescribes us having such a plan.

Rather than put the final draft out on public exhibition, Council resolved on 10 October to consult a certain stakeholder at Tyagarah about the plan’s provisions for music festivals.

If the plan is not modified to their liking, it will go elsewhere for review.

In the debate on the ‘way forward’ for the plan, there was little talk of how to save the dozen or so koalas at Tyagarah, but lots about not limiting festival activities.

The temperature of debate was raised by the use of the word ‘cur’ in reference to one pro-koala councillor.

In the long run it’ll be interesting to see which species is first to go extinct at Tyagarah, the koala or the swearing festival executive?

Duncan Dey, Byron Shire Councillor

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  1. I was appalled at the bullying, arrogant tactics that were used against some councilors at the recent Council meeting. These councilors are only trying to save an extremely endangered species. Scientific reports can be manipulated to suit the person who commissioned the report. All the scientific research shows that the MAIN breeding season for koalas in the Northern Rivers area is from August to March.Pity the koalas in these festival sites having their cycles disrupted, when there is enough disruption to the lives of the local residents. But, the pursuit of money is king!

    • Precisely, “the pursuit of money is king.’ The koalas cost the Tyagarah entrepeneur $400,000. Enough to buy a brand new Bentley.

  2. Just a history note about the koalas in this area.They didn’t live in the Byron Shire region until after the swamps got drained in Tyagarah,Myocum and Ewingsdale ,the rest was rainforest (The Big Scrub) that wouldn’t support the trees suitable for their food.A small pocket lived down near Ballina (per A.Mestons notes circa 1885) .He termed them bears in the trees!The first note I could find of koalas in this area was around 1922 and it was big news.The areas that originally contained koalas was Lismore and the Tweed.
    That said it is a shame for koalas ,but cane toads do far more damage to our native wildlife that we don’t see or hear.

  3. Our ex-Mayor made a ‘deal with the Devil’ when she cast the deciding vote for approval of the Tyagarah site. This was political naiveté at its best.

    I’d prefer to see the extinction of music festivals than koala.

  4. Koalas are here now. When European settlers removed most of the original habitat, then other species (mostly brought in by the same settlers ) filled the vacant space. Koala’s followed as their food trees filled some of the gaps the cedar getters created along with many other trees that koalas need for safety and rest. That’s the reality today and I am really happy on my regenerating property that koalas have a safe (except for both roaming/feral dogs) sizable regenerating forest to live in. Also camphor,tobacco and other introduced species have provided transition food sources for many of our birds,moths,butterflies that still survive here today. We seem hell bent on trying to re create a pre 1788 scenario with chemical poisoning of new habitat that is now a reality. As climate adaptability is the new norm we introduced humans need to wake up fast. Koalas were here well before Europeans.


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