Saving our Species Iconic Koala Project

As part of the Saving our Species program, the Iconic Koala Project aims to secure the koala in the wild in New South Wales for 100 years.

Partnerships

Saving our Species (SoS) has established three major partnerships for koala conservation. Significant koala populations in the Southern Highlands, Port Macquarie and Northern Rivers regions of NSW are getting a boost from these projects.

Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project logoPartners

Wingecarribee Shire Council and Saving our Species.

Investment

From 2018, Saving our Species is providing $450,000 over three years to continue the project and support a dedicated koala conservation officer employed by council. Council is contributing a further $200,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.

Objectives

The project is securing koala habitat on private properties, restoring koala habitat, seeking to reduce vehicle strike and wildfire impacts, and engage the community to increase awareness of koalas in the region.

Latest news

Through the project’s Koalarama event, 100 private landholders with koala habitat on their property have expressed interest in participating in koala conservation actions. One land owner has started the process of entering a conservation agreement, and eight others have applied to have their properties registered with Land for Wildlife.

Koala Recovery Partnership logoPartners

Mid North Coast Joint Organisation, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Kempsey Shire Council, Bellingen Shire Council, Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, and Saving our Species

Investment

From 2018, Saving our Species is providing $450,000 over three years to continue the project and support a dedicated koala conservation officer employed by the Joint Organisation. Partner organisations are contributing a further $250,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.

Objectives

The Koala Recovery Partnership is improving koala conservation across the Hastings-Macleay region by engaging with landholders, the community, research groups and government sectors to achieve better on-ground outcomes and on-going viability for koalas.

Latest news

The partnership is working with the Tacking Point Lions Club on Koala Smart. This program seeks to engage and educate school students about koala conservation using the arts and science.

The Hello Koalas sculpture trail is also raising awareness of the issues facing koalas in the region. Twenty-four sculptures are featured in an exhibit in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney during October and November 2019.

Northern Rivers Koala Project partner logos - Ballina Shire Council, Byron Shire Council, friends of the koala inc., lismore city council and Tweed Shire CouncilPartners

Tweed Shire Council, Lismore City Council, Byron Shire Council, Ballina Shire Council, Friends of the Koala, and Saving our Species.

Investment

From 2018, Saving our Species is providing $450,000 over three years to continue the project and support a dedicated koala conservation officer contracted by Tweed council. Partner organisations are contributing a further $715,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.

Objectives

The project is building on longstanding koala conservation efforts in the region, delivering habitat restoration, veterinary care, reduction of vehicle strikes, landholder and community engagement, and monitoring and data collection.

Latest news

Friends of the Koala continue to rehabilitate and release injured koalas from across the region. Tweed Council has engaged a dedicated koala conservation contractor to coordinate the project.

How you can help koalas

New app to record your koala sightings

Download the new I Spy Koala app and report your sightings of koalas in the wild. Data will be uploaded into the BioNet Atlas, improving the information available for conservation and planning decisions. The app is available for iOS and Android devices.

I Spy Koala app tile

Find a local koala conservation organisation

The NSW Koala Country website lists koala conservation organisations across the state that need your help. The site also has lots of information about koalas.

NSW volunteer portal

Find other opportunities to get involved in conservation projects. Visit the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Volunteering Portal to find projects that need your help.

Other work supported by the Saving our Species Iconic Koala Project

Saving our Species hosted an expert workshop in Armidale to discuss koala refuge habitat. In inland New South Wales, koalas are subject to extremes of heat and drought. Having adequate refuge habitat is critical to their survival. The workshop laid the groundwork for next steps: modelling and mapping important koala habitat in areas such as Gunnedah that can help koalas survive during heatwaves and droughts. On-ground works can then be prioritised to restore and conserve those areas in the long-term.

Group of people at koala refuge habitat workshop, Armidale

Three former agricultural areas within the bounds of Bongil Bongil National Park are being completely restored by creating 6.5 hectares of new koala habitat. Restoration actions include ecological burns, weed control, koala food tree planting and ongoing watering and maintenance. The restoration areas were previously cleared for agriculture but are surrounded by high-quality habitat with significant numbers of koalas. The transformation of the sites is stunning.

Heavily vegetated land, Bongil Bongil National Park, October 2016

 

Land denuded of vegetation, Bongil Bongil National Park, May 2017

Newly planted vegetation, Bongil Bongil National Park, January 2018

Restored koala habitat, Bongil Bongil National Park, March 2019

Koala surveys were undertaken at 78 sites in the Kybeyan area south east of Cooma. The University of Melbourne is using the data to develop fire risk models, collating landscape and koala habitat information. The model will inform a bush fire risk management plan that aims to reduce wild fire risk for both property and koala habitat.

Off road vehicle and people doing a koala survey in Kybeyan

Large areas in the southern coastal forests have been subject to logging. Preferred koala food trees struggle to regenerate. Saving our Species is trialling regeneration techniques to maximise the viability of koala trees. Techniques include thinning existing vegetation, low intensity fires, and preparation of seed balls (pictured). Ongoing challenges include browsing of seedlings by native wildlife, and ongoing dry conditions. Work will continue as conditions improve.

People making seed balls for habitat regeneration trials

Saving our Species is supporting Science for Wildlife to conduct koala surveys in the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains regions.

Koalas are being found in unusual places, including among the snow above 1100 metres altitude, on sandstone ridges with very low soil fertility, and splashing around in creeks (pictured).

Koala taking a dip in a creek in the Blue Mountains

Saving our Species worked with the Koala Health Hub at the University of Sydney to develop 4 koala health and sampling protocols including sampling of koalas following capture and restraint, koala clinical examination, and collecting koala scats in the field. These protocols are available on the Koala Health Hub website.