THINGS LOOKING UP: Jenny Hayes said with community help planting eucalyptus trees, we can boost koala numbers in the Northern Rivers.
THINGS LOOKING UP: Jenny Hayes said with community help planting eucalyptus trees, we can boost koala numbers in the Northern Rivers. Scott Powick

Hope for koalas on the brink

THE New South Wales Scientific Committee is pushing for the Tweed’s koala population to be recognised as endangered.

But conservationists claim the measure could be too late.

The Scientific Committee, which released its findings last week, has proposed escalating the standing of koalas in 3300 hectares from Tweed to Brunswick River, from vulnerable to at ‘very high’ risk of extinction.

If successful, Team Koala president Jenny Hayes said the proposed determination would be “the most significant” measure since Tweed Shire Council adopted a Koala Management Plan in February.

“More local planning will be made around the koalas,” Ms Hayes said.

“I commend the move because the situation is extremely serious –the koalas are literally on the brink of extinction, I’m not sure if they can be saved.

“The situation on the Tweed is an utter disaster, considering koalas are Australia’s icon.”

The Tweed Coast has seen a 50% decline in koalas over the past decade, with only about 150 thought to be left.

Council program leader Scott Hetherington said the committee’s proposal was in line with Byron and Tweed Shire’s joint goal to increase numbers.

“There are three main populations –the Cudgen King’s Forest, Round Mountain and the Pottsville wetlands,” Mr Hetherington said.

“We’re tyring to link those cells.”

The committee’s Dr Mark Eldridge said while the listing would not put a blanket stop on developers, it would help.

“At least there will be robust information for planners to deal with.”



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