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Byron Shire
September 21, 2023

Planting trees is critical for the survival of koalas

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Tanya Pritchard and Sam Harris planting trees at Tucki Tucki. Photo suppled.

Koalas and their health and habitat have been in the news more than ever in recent months and the word is starting to get out that they need our help.

Recently in an effort to bolster conservation of this furry friend, a contingent of volunteers gathered at Tucki Tucki to plant out an area with trees that koalas love to eat.

Members of Bangalow Koalas and the World Wide Fund (WWF) were on hand to get their hands dirty. They got together on a slice of privately owned land to plant 750 koala habitat and food trees. 

A wildlife corridor

The planting is building a part of a wildlife corridor that allows koalas to safely move between their forest homes. The land is owned by farmers who are keen to provide and restore homes for their resident koalas. 

Gold Coast model and WWF ambassador Sam Harris, along with her husband Luke, swapped the catwalk for hillside at Tucki Tucki to help with the plant in the hope of raising awareness and encouraging Aussies to do their part in supporting habitat regeneration.

‘It means so much to be able to give back, and see the work at hand,’ said Sam. ‘Joining the local community, the Githabul Rangers, WWF-Australia and Bangalow Koalas, it was a great opportunity to get together and help create something positive for the future of the local landscape and koalas.’

Landscape Restoration Project Manager for WWF, Tanya Pritchard, said the east coast koala is on the brink of extinction and are currently listed as Endangered under our environmental laws. ‘If we want to see them surviving in the wild – we need to start acting now to provide wildlife corridors and safe places for koalas to live. 

East coast koalas predicted to be extinct by 2050

‘Koalas on the east coast are predicted to be extinct in the wild by 2050 if we can’t turn things around soon. We want to help make the Northern Rivers region a resilient home for koalas for generations to come.

Ms Pritchard said the hope is to see that the trees planted a Tucki Tucki are looked after and well-maintained. ‘We need to keep caring for these young trees by removing weeds until they reach three or four years old and, we hope by then, koalas will start moving in and living in the trees. 

‘To do so, we need all the support we can get – whether that’s coming out to community events like the one hosted by Bangalow Koalas, raising awareness about the challenges faced by our koalas with your friends and family or financially supporting our programs through a donation, we believe that everyone can help give our iconic koalas a fighting chance. 

Inspiring land owners

‘We also hope that the success of plantings like this will inspire other land owners in the region to build similar wildlife corridors on their own land and restore more habitat in critical koala refuge areas.’

Ms Pritchard said that having people with a profile, like Sam Harris, is an amazing opportunity to be able to support really important causes like the recovery of threatened species like the koala and to leave a lasting legacy that creates a positive outcome for the future. ‘We really appreciate Samantha’s passion for wildlife and we hope her passion will inspire others to get involved and make a difference for our precious koalas and environment in whatever way they can.’

Ms Pritchard said she loved working alongside the community to plant healthy young trees, knowing that they will be become a really formative and important part of the landscape in the future for koalas. ‘It’s nice to be able to share that time with other people that are committed to the recovery of the koala.’

Raising funds to plant 100,000 trees

Sam said it’s great to know that WWF-Australia are seeking to scale-up this important work in this region. ‘They are currently raising funds that could help plant an additional 100,000 koala food and habitat trees. 

‘I would love to encourage other Australians to help give our iconic Aussie koalas a fighting chance by donating  or coming along to similar volunteer planting events near you.’

You can supporting habitat regeneration by planting tree and by donating at: https://wwf.org.au/donate/tax-appeal/

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