The Western Slopes and Plains Koala Management Area (KMA 6) extends across central New South Wales, between the Queensland and Victorian borders, from Parkes in the east to the Cobar and Bourke districts in the west.
Large koala populations once lived in this KMA, in particular the Pilliga region and around Gunnedah, Walgett and Moree. Recent surveys have found no evidence of koalas in the Pilliga, and the Gunnedah population appears to fluctuate in size over time periods of decades. A small koala population was established in Narrandera in 1972 through translocation of Victorian animals.
Koalas are found in large low-fertility woodland blocks, small remnant patches and paddock trees in agricultural and urban settings. Relatively high densities of koalas are found on flat lands with fertile black clay soils, such as the Liverpool plains, and riparian areas with river red gums, although these areas are less well studied.
Travelling stock routes, other Crown land reserves and roadside reserves provide important habitat connectivity across this KMA.
Image: Map showing the extent of the Western Slopes and Plains Koala Management Area (KMA),
with national parks, state forests, major waterways and roads.
Koalas and koala habitat in KMA 6 are threatened by:
- habitat clearing and fragmentation due to agriculture, increased mining of coal and coal-seam gas, as well as rural residential development
- climate change, drought, heatwaves; a large proportion of koalas in Gunnedah died in a 2-week period during heatwaves and drought in 2009 due to dehydration, heat stress and disease
- bushfires, which cause koala mortality and temporarily eliminate food sources
- vehicle strike
- disease, mostly chlamydia
- absence of permanent water in some areas, such as the Pilliga
- tree die-back and changes in leaf chemistry linked to climate change.
Restoration of habitat
Habitat restoration aims to reduce threats to koalas, increase habitat and help conserve koala populations.
Read our Koala habitat revegetation guidelines for evidence-based recommendations and best-practice methods for restoring koala habitat.