Discovery of koala colony prompts pleas to suspend logging

A breeding koala colony has apparently been found near Bellingen.
A breeding koala colony has apparently been found near Bellingen. John McCutcheon

THERE are calls for the immediate suspensions of logging operations near Bellingen following the discovery of a breeding population of koalas in the area.

NSW Greens spokesperson Dawn Walker today made the plea to suspend the logging, saying investigations by the North East Forest Alliance and the Kalang River Forest Alliance identified the breeding colony in Gladstone State Forest.

Inspections by the Kalang River Forest Alliance last weekend found 15 trees with scats from mother and baby koalas in the forest, including a pair of Tallowwoods with a significant 380 scats under them which indicates frequent and recent use.

"The NSW Premier needs to step in and immediately suspend logging operations in the Gladstone State Forest if she is serious about protecting our declining koala populations on the mid-north coast,” Ms Walker said.

"I have written to the Premier, urging her to take immediate action to protect vulnerable koala populations in the area.

Grey gum trees found with koala scratches on their trunks in Gladstone State Forest.
Grey gum trees found with koala scratches on their trunks in Gladstone State Forest. Contributed

"Koala populations have plummeted by over 30 per cent over the past two decades and by 50 per cent on the North Coast due to under-regulated logging operations causing habitat loss and fragmentation.”

"Logging plans should immediately cease in the Gladstone State Forest. Unless urgent action is taken and short-sighted logging operations like this stop, this government risks presiding over the extinction of koalas in NSW.”

Late last month the Kalang River Alliance and the North Coast Environment Council rallied outside the Forestry Corporation building in Coffs Harbour.

The National Park Association of NSW has also begun campaigning for the Great Koala National Park on the Coffs Coast, arguing it was the best chance of securing a future for koalas in NSW.

A report released by WWF Australia in May found that the koala population in NSW declined by 26%, with some populations headed towards localised extinctions.

The koala is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species as a Vulnerable species.

Topics:  bellingen dawn walker mlc discovery nsw greens state forests

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