Time to care for koalas

PIA Dollman's suggestion of selective logging for the forest compartment bordering North Bellingen is timely.

Only last week CSIRO and NSW government scientists were reported to be stressing that outdated ideas of protecting native animals in national parks and reserves would not be enough to prevent increased koala extinctions (SMH, Nov 22-23).

Koalas, they say, are likely to die in greater numbers as they adapt to climate change due to the ensuing increases in intense bushfires and drought plus a drop in the nutrition levels of their food.

Senior NSW Government scientist, Dan Lunney, said rising greenhouse gas concentrations would push up toxins and lower nutrient levels in eucalyptus leaves and that shrinking bushland surrounded by farms, housing developments and logging operations, would require koalas to travel further a field, leaving them more vulnerable to death by dogs and cars.

He said identifying wildlife refuges and creating wildlife corridors or escape routes for animals and birds so they could move between reserves and parks would be crucial.

Ms Dollman's second and third options of buffer zones between the town and logging operations are sensible fall back positions but would be much less effective for the protection of precious koala habitat.

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