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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Heading to extinction: Koalas on the brink

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There are only 30,000 koalas left in NSW according to the NSW state government yet they are bringing in new land clearing laws that will open up over 100,000 hectares of protected old-growth forest and rainforest on public lands for logging. 

‘There is absolutely no doubt that the main contributor (to koala extinction) is the removal of habitat,’ said Dr Roslyn Irwin, president of Friends of the Koala.

‘In the past we have averaged 300 rescues a year, but in 2016/2017 that jumped to 429, which we hoped was an aberration but in 2017/2018 we rescued 379, and in July 2018 we rescued 37, which seems like another big year. We only ever release just on 15 per cent so the remainder are either euthanased or die.’

As koalas lose habitat to residential and commercial development and infrastructure such as the Pacific Highway upgrade they spend more time on the ground trying to find food and ‘This puts them at increased risk of dog attack and being hit by motor vehicles,’ said Dr Irwin.

Car strike

Highlighting the issue of koala extinction and the issue of koalas being hit by cars a volunteer for Friends of the Koala has made a short animation that is being shown at the Byron Ballina Airport as a community announcement until at least September.

What can you do?

Dr Irwin emphasised the importance of contacting your local politicians and members of the government opposing habitat destruction as the ‘New land clearing laws in NSW will mean more habitat is going to be removed,’ she said.

You can also share social media posts about the koala’s plight and talk to people about the fact that koalas are going extinct were all important first steps in trying to save the koala. The Friends of the Koala action list also highlights the need to drive carefully, contain pets and put the 24 hour rescue number 6622 1233 into your phone. For more information visit the Friends of the Koala website

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  1. Hi,
    I hope we can convince the NSW Government to abandon the North Coast Shark Net Trial as I don’t think a Short Animation on the Death by Nets of 8 dolphins is going to be well received by holiday makers and others as they arrive in Ballina/Byron.Airport.

    D Dane

  2. I’m sick of driving schools telling Learner drivers not to swerve for animal on the roads. Tell them to Slow Down & read the roads. FFS
    There are signs everywhere indicating wildlife..SLOW DOWN

  3. There are nothing like 30,000 koalas left in NSW, the Chief Scientist estimate was deeply flawed and any examination of her report on the Decline of Koalas in NSW will demonstrate those flaws. There has been no population estimate since 2006 when the population was estimated to be between 1,000-10,000. Since then there has been a catastrophic decline of numbers.
    The only way koalas will survive in NSW is for habitat to be legally protected. The Biodiversity Conservation Act does not provide any provisions for legal challenges, there is no habitat protection and uninhibited ability to clear remaining habitat. This Act together with the Local Land Amendment Act needs to be repealed if koalas are to have any hope of survival. There’s also an urgent need for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the RMS Pacific Highway Upgrade at Ballina as many violations of conditions of consent have been identified by EDO lawyers commissioned by Australians for Animals. It is unfortunate that the published information relevant to koalas on the far north coast is so limited in its scope

  4. Limited in scope is right, Sue. There are animal declines everywhere. I’d like to mention
    Indonesia & what its Chinese funded dam is about to do. It is a no-brainer that the last
    800 Tapanuli Orangutangs face extinction & only a petition can perhaps save them. If
    repelled by mass killing, contact [email protected] by typing in Tapanuli Orangutangs
    at risk.


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Cartoon of the week – 3 March, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.