The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia today agreed with a New South Wales Upper House report that says, following huge bushfire losses, koalas face extinction in the state before 2050 without urgent government intervention to protect habitat and address all other threats including climate change.
“The report is strong, comprehensive, and timely. The NSW Government should act on the recommendations,’ said Stuart Blanch, Senior Manager, Land Clearing and Restoration, WWF-Australia.
“The bushfires burned a quarter of koala habitat, killing more than an estimated 6,300 koalas,” said Dr Blanch.
“Deforestation is soaring, killing koala homes and food.
“The NSW Government has made some progress on koalas. It has improved koala habitat mapping, strengthened the planning policy for protecting koala habitat, and supported farmers and communities who care for koalas.
“But koalas are fast heading towards extinction across vast areas of the state and relying on National Parks alone as a conservation intervention simply will not be enough.
“The NSW Government has failed to stop core koala habitat being bulldozed on private land or chopped down in coastal state forests. No trees, no koalas.
“WWF calls on the NSW Premier to rewrite weak land clearing laws to protect koala habitat, greatly increase funding for farmers who actively conserve trees where koalas live, and a transition out of logging koala forests and into plantations,” he said.
Dr Blanch said the federal government must also play a role because the nation’s flagship environmental law – the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act – had failed koalas.
In April, WWF revealed that clearing of koala habitat increased after it was listed as vulnerable under the EPBC Act in 2012
The EPBC Act is undergoing a once-in-a-decade review with an interim report due this week.
He said the review must tackle the Act’s failure to save threatened species and curtail habitat loss.