Koalas were declared an endangered species by the NSW Government on May 20, 2022. The Sydney Basin Koala Network aims to protect and expand Koala populations in the Sydney Basin Bioregion; Ulladulla to Nelson Bay, inland to Mudgee.
The Sydney Basin Koala Network (SBKN) has been established by Total Environment Centre, partnering with 3 year funding from WIRES, to:
- Increase public knowledge and appreciation of the region’s Koala populations through surveys, a variety of communication channels and community briefings.
- Inform local, state and federal governments about the existence, conservation status and threats to the Koala populations and effective measures to protect them and expand their range.
- Utilise citizen science according to a credible survey methodology to monitor the populations and record the sightings on a database accessible in the public domain.
- Help community groups to protect Koala habitat by support for surveys and the provision of information and policies.
- Work with non-government groups, scientists, business and conservation agencies to achieve these aims.
To mark the launch in November 2022, a YouGov study of 1000+ metro and regional NSW residents confirmed awareness of koalas living near our towns and cities is critically low. With less than a third of residents (31%) aware that koalas live in neighbouring bushland in close proximity to busy residential areas in the Sydney Basin - from Mudgee to Nelson Bay to Ulladulla. However, concern for their protection is high for the majority (84%) who believe koala habitat should be more strongly protected from economic activities such as urban development, mining and logging.
- Whilst most (81%) NSW citizens aged 18+ say that koalas live in bushland, less than one in three (31%) are aware that koalas reside at the edge of their cities or towns City dwellers are less aware of koalas living in neighbouring urban environments than those in regional areas (27% vs 40%)
- Lowest levels of awareness were with younger residents; just 16% of those aged 18-24 were aware of the close proximity of koalas to the city than older residents 50+ (36%)
- Respondents residing in the Sydney Basin area are less likely to say that koalas live on the edge of their cities and towns (27%), compared to those residing in other parts of NSW (40%)
- Over four-in-five (84%) NSW citizens say that koala habitats should be protected from development (including housing, mining, logging, and more). Just one-in-ten (10%) support the use of koala habitat
- Asked about their views on the amount of native forest conserved for koala habitats, two-thirds (64%) say that it is ‘too little’ – this is especially pronounced for respondents outside the Sydney Basin region (70%, compared with 62% for Sydney Basin respondents)
- Three-in-five (62%) say that property developers, logging and mining companies are given “too much” power over land use in natural forest
The Sydney Basin Koala Network has so far been endorsed by the following partners: Nature Conservation Council, Australian Climate and Forest Alliance, Humane Society Australia, Australian Wildlife Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Lithgow Environment Group, Save Manly Dam Catchment Committee, Hills-Hornsby Rural Koala Project, Save Sydney’s Koalas, and Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society and Sutherland Shire Environment Centre. Further recruitment is ongoing.