NSW Scientific Committee - final determination
The Scientific Committee has found that:
1. The Koala, Phascolarctos cinereus is not listed on Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act, and thus populations of Phascolarctos cinereus are eligible for listing on Part 2 of Schedule 1 of the Act.
2. Phascolarctos cinereus has been reliably reported as occurring in Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens and in the immediate vicinity of these towns in the Great Lakes Local Government Area. The population extends in the south-east to the Yacaaba Headland and in the south-west to the peninsula west of Winda Woppa. The population is limited in the west and north-west to the outskirts of the built-up area of Tea Gardens, including the Shearwater Estate, where it is bounded by Toonang Drive. The population is limited in the north to an east-west line three kilometres north of the northern boundary of the Hawks Nest Golf Course, although occasional sightings have been made outside these boundaries. The population is bounded in the south and east by the ocean.
3. Movement of Koalas between Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest occurs, but at very low frequency.
4. In 1989 the population contained at least 21 individuals. In 1998 the population had fallen to about 12, 2 - 3 in the vicinity of Tea Gardens and the remainder in Hawks Nest and environs.
5. The decline of the Phascolarctos cinereus population has been attributed to continuing sub-division and associated clearing of food and habitat trees, road mortality and attacks by dogs. At least 10 Koalas were killed in 1997 and 1998.
6. There is evidence that Phascolarctos cinereus populations in the Lower Hunter are small and continuing to decline due to pressures of clearing, habitat fragmentation, sand-mining, development and, in the past, hunting. The Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens population of Phascolarctos cinereus is of significant conservation value due to its disjunction from other populations in the area and its occurrence within a coastal urban area.
7. The Scientific Committee is of the opinion that the numbers of Phascolarctos cinereus in the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens population have been reduced to such a critical level that the population is in immediate danger of extinction.
8. In view of 4, 5, 6, & 7 above the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens population of the Koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, has been reduced to such a critical level, its habitat has been so drastically reduced, that it is in immediate danger of extinction and it is not a population of a species already listed in Schedule 1 and is otherwise of significant conservation value. Consequently the Committee considers that the population satisfies the criteria specified in Section 11 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act and is therefore eligible for listing as an Endangered Population on Part 2 of Schedule 1 of the Act.
Proposed Gazettal date: 13/8/99
Exhibition period: 13/8/99 - 17/9/99