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.
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.
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.