New research shows Koalas in the Sydney Basin are in decline

New research released today by the Sydney Basin Koala Network shows the area where koalas are found in the Sydney Basin is declining and the areas supporting long standing breeding populations of koalas is also reducing. The need for protection is becoming ever more urgent, the Sydney Basin Koala Network and Total Environment Centre said today.  

In the time since koalas were listed as endangered, things have gone from bad to worse, with growing threats from development set to push koalas into further decline. Jeff Angel, Director of Total Environment Centre, urges the NSW government to put their foot on the accelerator for Koala protection.

The threats to koalas are multiplying while effective protections languish. The decline can’t continue and must be reversed; new laws enacted and conservation reserves and migratory corridors protected; and the state’s Koala Strategy made effective.

The newly released research from TEC's Sydney Basin Koala Network, conducted by koala ecologists Biolink, compared the extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and areas of generational persistence of koalas in the Sydney Basin Bioregion from 2021-2023. All measures showed a trend of decline in the Sydney Basin. Important populations in Cessnock and Southern Highlands are of particular concern with generational persistence in Cessnock halving and the area occupied by koalas decreasing significantly in both LGAs between 2021-2023.

Image showing the proportional area where koalas are found in the Sydney Basin has slightly declined and there are fewer areas supporting long-standing breeding populations.

"The only relatively stable koala populations are threatened by impending urban sprawl outwards from Sydney, so they won’t stay stable for long," Stephanie Carrick, project management of Sydney Basin Koala Network, adds to the release of this report.

Policy and legal analysis for SBKN by the Environmental Defenders Office concludes that existing measures are not enough to prevent the extinction of koalas in the Sydney Basin by 2050. 

“There are several key steps available to the Government that would immediately halt this decline and protect koalas.” Stephanie said. “These steps are outlined in our SBKN 2024 Policy Recommendations, and we will use these recommendations to benchmark progress in future reports,” Stephanie states. 

You can read the full Research Reports and Summaries here.

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