Nature conservation

Threatened species

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

Species conservation project

This species has been assigned to the Iconic species management stream under the Saving our Species program.

Justification for allocation to this management stream

This species has been selected for the iconic management stream based on high levels of community engagement and interest.

Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable

Management objectives

The conservation project aims to secure the species in the wild in NSW for 100 years, engage local communities in its conservation, and encourage the NSW community to identify with it as a flagship for threatened species conservation.

Species sightings and management sites across NSW

The map below displays the species’ distribution in NSW, based upon the species’ geographic range, habitat distribution or area of occupancy (to as high a resolution as available data allow, using a range of data sources).

Information about the species’ habitat and ecology is available here.

Management sites for this conservation project have yet to be identified. The Office of Environment and Heritage is seeking your feedback to identify important populations of koalas that should be prioritised for conservation action.


The species occurs in the following IBRA (Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia) regions in NSW:

South Eastern Queensland
NSW North Coast
New England Tablelands
Darling Riverine Plains
Brigalow Belt South
Mulga Lands
Cobar Peneplain
Broken Hill Complex
Murray Darling Depression
NSW South Western Slopes
South Eastern Highlands
Sydney Basin
Australian Alps
South East Corner

Critical actions for this species

The main threats to the viability of koalas are loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitat, mortality through vehicle strike and dog attack, and widespread pervasive factors such as impacts of climate change and disease.

Threats to this species are outlined here.

The actions listed in the action toolbox can be used by stakeholders, where applicable to guide management at a site, area or state scale.The Office of Environment and Heritage is seeking your feedback on these actions.

Action toolbox

Action DescriptionScale
In areas where a koala population is present, undertake planting to restore and increase the area of koala habitat. Restoration and augmentation planting and/or direct seeding should use appropriate feed and shelter tree species in areas of degraded and/or potentially suitable habitat. Revegetation should focus on expanding existing smaller areas of known occupied habitat, including private land, and connecting areas of suitable habitat to create corridors for movement. Resources for long-term monitoring and management of revegetated areas should be included.Site
In areas where a koala population is present, negotiate agreements with landholders, particularly in-perpetuity covenants or stewardship agreements that promote the protection and retention of high quality koala habitat or habitat that contributes significantly to connectivity in the landscape.Site
In areas where a koala population is present, undertake koala habitat studies and mapping using standardised methods and terminology to identify key koala populations and rank and map koala habitat. Centralised mapping and database to include details of works, methods, costs, sources of funding and outcomes of monitoring.Area
Identify blackspots where koala road mortalities are greatest and target proven mitigation techniques such as fencing and wildlife crossings, in discussion with council and Roads and Maritime Services. Mitigation may also involve the development, testing and deployment of new technologies that can reduce vehicle strike.Site
Liaise with Roads and Maritime Services and local councils in the development of new/existing roads to plan koala barrier fencing and crossings as part of road construction projects.Area
Conduct local community awareness campaigns in areas where attacks by domestic dogs on koalas are prevalent to raise awareness of the impacts and the importance of responsible dog ownership, including keeping dogs restrained on leads and in properly fenced enclosures.Area
Liaise with relevant authorities or land managers to ensure that identified koala habitat areas are defined as assets for protection in fire planning tools when managing wildfires and prior to any hazard reduction burns. Promote best practice fire management protocols in areas of significant koala populations.Area
Liaise with authorities or land managers to ensure that any unavoidable prescribed burns within koala habitat are conducted in a way that minimises impacts on koala habitat and individual koalas, based on best practice guidelines.Area
Improve understanding of the role of chlamydia in koala population dynamics and mortality, including baseline genetic information and links between habitat disturbance and disease-related morbidity, by conducting research in collaboration with universities, vets and ecologists.Area, State
Support carer and vet networks in their response to the management of koala health and welfare during extreme weather conditions.Area, State
Research and trial adaptation management actions such as installation of artificial water sources and the establishment of refuge habitat and promote connectivity through habitat restoration.Site
Use predicted climate change data and modelling techniques to predict the possible impacts on koalas from climate change. This should include how koala habitat is likely to change under different climate changes scenarios, such as temperature rise impacts on habitat, drought and wildfires. Use this information to prioritise adaptation actions and investment in habitat and corridor protection and restoration.Site, Area, State
Support koala rehabilitation groups and vets to rehabilitate sick and injured koalas through training, provision of materials, and promotion of state-wide protocols including for rehabilitation, genetic profiling, record-keeping and release to the wild. Area, State
Engage with koala rehabilitation groups and other information sources to better understand the causes of koala trauma and mortality. Collate and map the results. State
Develop standardised method and reporting for monitoring change in koala populations and distribution through time and contribute survey data to centralised database. Include genetic information where possible.State
Support the collation of koala survey records and monitoring information through a centralised database for state-wide reporting and analysis, contributing sighting records to NSW BioNet.State
Improve understanding of koala movements and use of their habitat in the landscape by conducting targeted research on individuals using GPS collars and mark-recapture techniques.Site, Area

How will this species be managed?

Management sites for this conservation project have yet to be identified. The Office of Environment and Heritage is seeking your feedback to identify important populations of koalas that should be prioritised for conservation action.

Management sites

Click on column headers to sort
Site nameSite typeStatusLocal government area (LGA)
Currently no priority sites identified

Are you or is someone you know doing conservation work for this species or in this area?

Contact us to tell us about the work. Your input will help us evaluate the status of threatened species and provide a broader picture of conservation work across NSW.