Koala spotters needed as populations dwindle
WITH CONCERNS over the state's koala population at an all-time high, Coffs Harbour residents are being invited to become koala spotters to monitor the local population as breeding season begins.
The sixth annual Community Koala Survey is about to start at Bongil Bongil National Park, allowing the National Parks and Wildlife Association to develop an understanding of how the koala population in the Park fluctuates over time.
NPWS Area Manager Glenn Storrie said the park is home to one of the most important koala populations in the state.
"We will train community volunteers and equip them to help conduct night-time surveys, recording the presence of koalas and any other wildlife they might encounter,” Mr Storrie said.
"The surveys are conducted just after sunset in the middle of the koala breeding season in late September to early October, a time when koalas are on the move and most vocal.”
The World Wide Fund for Nature last week released a controversial report predicting NSW's koala population will be extinct by 2050 because of deforestation.
"WWF-Australia estimates there are likely less than 20,000 koalas left in NSW and at the current rate, they are on track to be extinct in the state by as early as 2050,” WWF-Australia conservationist Stuart Blanch said.
"We have to stop this excessive tree-clearing if we want to keep koalas alive in the wild for future generations.”
The report examined changes in relation to the rate of land clearing in north-central NSW following the repeal of the Native Vegetation Act 2003, and the introduction of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2017.
The report analysed satellite images of NSW koala forests, claiming the rate of tree clearing has tripled in the state's north since the axing of the Native Vegetation Act 2003.
If you're interested in becoming a koala spotter, an information and training session for prospective new volunteers will be held from 6pm on Wednesday at NPWS' Coffs Coast Area offices at 32 Marina Dr.