Highly regarded conservation zoo, Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast of NSW, is joining forces with National Parks Association of NSW to raise awareness and funds for the establishment of The Great Koala National Park.
This conservation initiative is strategically planned to protect what is arguably Australia’s national icon, the koala, as numbers continue to plummet in NSW state forests and protected land. The Great Koala National Park is proposed to be established by combining 175,000 ha of state forest with 140,000 ha of existing protected land in the Coffs Harbour region to form a 315,000 ha refuge for almost 20 percent of the state’s remaining wild koalas.
With habitat loss and fragmentation already having resulted in koalas disappearing from 75% of their former range in NSW, the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) has turned to crowdfunding to support a strategic proposal aimed at conserving the state’s koalas.
In the absence of a state koala recovery plan, NPA in conjunction with several local community groups, has developed an ambitious proposal for a new national park dedicated to the conservation of the species.
The Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) that govern logging in nearly 7 million hectares of state forests in NSW, Tasmania, Victoria and WA have failed in all their objectives and should be terminated when they expire over the next four years. That is the damning assessment by over 30 environmental groups in a statement released today.
“The RFAs commenced in the 1990s and did not take factors such as climate change into account” said Lorraine Bower of the Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA). “Now we know that forests are vital for moderating climate and storing carbon, and that logging significantly reduces carbon stores in forests.
The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) welcomes Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrew’s call to keep cats indoors to protect wildlife.
“This is a bold intervention, and one that would certainly help to reduce predation from cats on our native wildlife—particularly in urban and peri-urban areas” NPA CEO Kevin Evans said.
“For this to be really effective though, it needs to be part of a bigger picture plan. All levels of government need to be committed and it needs to be properly funded.”
Can we have our cake and eat it, or will offsetting cost our natural heritage? Koalas or coal; nature or one-off profits; short-term gain or things of wonder for our grandkids? These are the choices we have to make, writes Dr. Oisín Sweeney.
Source: Koalas for coal: Will it come to this in NSW?