Dr Stuart Blanch from WWF-Australia and Stephen Phillips from Biolink searching for koalas post bushfires © WWF-Australia / Mark Symons

Dr Stuart Blanch from WWF-Australia and Stephen Phillips from Biolink searching for koalas post bushfires © WWF-Australia / Mark Symons

WWF welcomes early Christmas present for Lake Innes koalas

17 Dec 2021

Keywords
  • koalas
  • new south wales
  • Regenerate Australia
The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia today welcomed the protection of 194 hectares of high quality koala habitat that was up for sale at Lake Innes on the New South Wales mid north coast.

“This prime habitat has been saved from bulldozers by the NSW government and Koala Conservation Australia and we congratulate them both for this positive step,” said Dr Stuart Blanch, WWF-Australia conservation scientist.

The land has been purchased and will be added to the Lake Innes Nature Reserve and declared an Asset of Intergenerational Significance.

WWF commissioned koala ecologists from Biolink to survey the Lake Innes Nature Reserve in March 2020 to assess the impact on the local koala population from the 2019/20 bushfires.

By comparing pre- and post-fire koala survey results they calculated a 34% decline in median koala occupancy in the reserve.

WWF shared Biolink’s findings with the NSW government and advised that the land should be saved when it was put on the market earlier this year.

Saving this core habitat aligns with WWF-Australia’s Regenerate Australia program Koalas Forever which has the aim of doubling koala numbers on the east coast by 2050.

The NSW government also has a target to double koala numbers in NSW by 2050.

The purchased land is part of an area of regional koala significance identified by NSW government koala experts and community koala conservationists.

“Habitat loss and fragmentation is a major driver of koala extinctions across eastern Australia,” said Dr Blanch.

“On top of deforestation for agriculture and native forest logging, clearing of koala homes for urban expansion is a major driver of koala declines on the NSW north coast.

“Expansion of the protected areas estate across different land tenures is critical to save koalas from extinction, as well as the hundreds of other species that also call koala forests home.

“These types of decisions – that factor in the future of people and nature – are going to be vital to Regenerate Australia,” he said.

About Regenerate Australia

Regenerate Australia is the largest and most innovative wildlife recovery and landscape regeneration program in Australia’s history. Launched by WWF-Australia in October 2020, the multi-year program will rehabilitate, repopulate and restore wildlife and habitats affected by the 2019-2020 bushfires, and help to future-proof Australia against the impacts of changing climate. Australia’s eastern koalas need support, you can add your support and help Regenerate Australia at www.wwf.org.au/regenerate-australia

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