Jenny Hayes from Team Koala wants more local people to join the battle to save the iconic marsupials. Photo:
Jenny Hayes from Team Koala wants more local people to join the battle to save the iconic marsupials. Photo: Blainey Woodham

Koalas in the firing line

A NATIONAL survey which warned koalas were rapidly vanishing from the Australian mainland has prompted local calls for more urgent action to save koalas in the Tweed.

Spokesperson for Team Koala, Jenny Hayes, whose group has been pushing Tweed Shire Council to adopt a shire-wide koala management plans first mooted 13 years ago, said the study acknowledged “the real crisis facing the animals due to habitat loss”.

“The real problem is that each development is looked at in isolation and not on the total impact on the species,” Ms Hayes said.

“Developers won’t go there because of the massive impact.”

Ms Hayes said the 500 home township planned for the Kings Forest site on the Tweed Coast south of Kingscliff was an example of one development which would sit on “a significant corridor for our koala”.

“Once that is taken away some experts believe that is the final nail in the coffin for the koalas in that area,” she said.

“Kings Forest is a big area and the poor koalas’ habitat is reducing all the time due to development.”

But Ms Hayes said Tweed residents could help by joining either Team Koala, Friends of the Koala or The Australian Koala Foundation.

At Tweed Shire Council’s community access session on Tuesday, Team Koala member Maria Smart told councillors it was time to move ahead with a Koala Plan of Management.

“It is not just Team Koala who want to save the koala,” she said.

“You will find it is the majority of people in your shire and in fact the entire country.”

In Lismore the Friends of the Koala group is backing moves to give the national icon greater protection in the wake of the study and a request yesterday to a federal government advisory committee to place the koala on the endangered species list.

The Australian Koala Foundation has told the committee koala numbers are declining and could be as low as 43,000 nationally.

It said the animals were suffering from urban development and climate change.

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