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Koala numbers in our area are under threat, largely due to continuing fragmentation of suitable habitat and wildfire.
A comprehensive Koala Plan of Management was adopted by Council in October 2015, and focuses on the core habitat areas of Ashby, Woombah and Iluka. Council is implementing actions identified in the plan, including educating community residents in the core habitat areas about how to protect koalas and their habitat.
Koalas are exposed to a number of threats in developed areas, including:
In combination, these threats can cause koala populations to decline.
Land clearing is recognised as the major threat to koalas due to the loss of food trees. When their habitat becomes fragmented, koalas have to move greater distances between trees, making them more vulnerable to vehicle strikes and dog attacks.
Habitat fragmentation or disturbance can also lead to overcrowding and increased competition. Koalas then become stressed, which may lead to health problems. Koalas that are weakened by disease are more vulnerable to dog attack.
To ensure our koalas have access to safe, suitable bushland refuges we need to improve their habitat:
Some of the koalas’ favoured food trees include:
Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis)
Tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys)
Small-fruited Grey Gum (Eucalyptus propinqua)
Roads often cut across routes koalas use regularly to move around their home range, putting them at risk of being hit by cars, particularly at night. Please take notice of koala signs and be on the lookout in these areas.
Koalas can potentially escape fire if they have access to unburned habitat, which can also provide a refuge until the burnt areas regenerate.
Controlled burns: Individual koalas can be directly affected during hazard reduction burns as they often remain in the trees or come into contact with burnt lower trunks.
Wildfires: High-intensity wildfires pose a serious threat to koalas, particularly where no unburned habitat is available as a refuge.
You can help by:
Dog attacks from domestic and wild dogs are a major cause of koala injury and death.
You can reduce the risk of dog attacks by:
Fences can prevent koalas moving across the landscape accessing food trees.
If you have a dog the use of exclusion fencing around your house is the best option to prevent koalas from entering. These fences should be clear of trees and shrubs so that koalas can’t climb over.
In hot, dry weather koalas may need to go in search of water and sometimes enter backyard pools. Although they can swim they can drown if there is no way of exiting the pool.Draping a length of thick rope fitted
with a float in the pool at all times and securing it to a tree or post will provide a way for them to climb out. A safer option is a pool fence designed to prevent koalas from accessing the pool.
The Clarence Valley has a few remaining koala populations, including areas around Iluka, Woombah, Waterview Heights, Barretts Creek, Marengo, and Billy’s Creek… but there’s much that we still don’t know.
Knowing where koalas are located in our landscape helps us to conserve the species. Data collection enables us to learn why koalas prefer a particular habitat, why certain habitats contain more individuals than other similar habitats, and why koalas are declining from particular areas. By understanding their distribution, we can determine the conservation value of regional zones and further develop management guidelines for natural resources.
Council is keen to learn about where you've seen koalas. We are collecting data on where our koalas are located to help conserve this iconic species. Our online Koala Register will let you pin-point a koala sighting location on a map. You'll also be able to add more information about the sighting to help us learn more. Follow the steps - it’s easy!
You can also register a koala sighting by contacting the Caragh Heenan, Project Officer (NRM), from the Natural Resource Management team on (02) 6641 7357 or emailing caragh.Heenan@clarence.nsw.gov.au
Image: “Evidence of koala activity includes actual sightings, hearing koala bellows, scats beneath a tree, or scratch marks on the trunk of trees.”
Local koala carers are in need of release sites. Do you have koala-friendly habitat and wish to register your property as a release site?
Head to the Koala Register and select the Nominate a Koala Release Site tab, or contact the Caragh Heenan from the NRM team on (02) 6641 7357.
If you suspect a koala needs help, please contact:
WIRES on 1300 094 737
Experienced, trained handlers will advise what should be done to help the koala.