Big Issues

Koalas In Sydney Are Facing Extinction Due To Shoddy NSW Laws

Ahead of the NSW state election, experts are warning that Sydney's native koala population is facing an "avoidable tragedy".

An adult koala caring for her young child

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Well, this sucks. Ahead of the NSW state election, experts are warning that Sydney’s native koala population is facing an “avoidable tragedy”.

After a survey of the once-thriving Sydney Basin found that only 10 percent of the area has koala occupancy, wildlife advocates are calling on NSW politicians to commit to closing legislative loopholes that allow native logging and development projects to threaten koala habitats.

According to a report commissioned by Sydney Basin Koala Network, the deadly 2019 summer bushfires had a massive impact on Sydney’s koala population, affecting more than 70 percent of koala habitats across Sydney’s national parks.

In one truly depressing and dire instance, the report found that not a single koala has been sighted in the previously flourishing habitats in Shoalhaven since 2019, leading experts to conclude that the habitat had been entirely decimated by the unprecedented bushfire season.

Aside from natural disasters, koala populations in Sydney are also being threatened by “the cumulative effect of hundreds of development approvals”, with the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) finding NSW environmental laws are “not up to the task of protecting koalas and their habitats”. Citing habit destruction as the greatest risk to native animals in New South Wales, a recent EDO report urged the next state government to commit to ensuring legal protections apply to all koala habitats by adopting consistent comprehensive mapping across NSW as a matter of urgency.

Native animal response organisation WIRES have also committed to the proposal, with CEO Leanne Taylor stating that volunteers responded to over 330 emergency calls regarding injured or displaced koalas in the Sydney Basin area.

“As their habitat and invaluable corridors continue to be destroyed, despite being reclassified as Endangered, it’s a now or never situation,” WIRES CEO Leanne Taylor said. “All relevant parties including the public need to join together to halt what is fast becoming an avoidable tragedy for the Basin’s remaining koala colonies.”