News

Modelling shows highway plan would decimate koala population

BALLINA'S linchpin koala population would be decimated within 25 years if the Pacific Highway's route through the Blackwall Ranges is given federal approval, new modelling has shown.

Earlier this month the NSW Planning Minister approved the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade, leaving Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt the final gatekeeper.

But a new study by koala biologist Dr Stephen Phillips has predicted the fate of the population of 200 genetically diverse koalas is more acute than previously thought under the proposed route which cuts through the colony's eastern cell.

Dr Phillips used a sophisticated computer program, Vortex, designed specially for conservation modelling and used by global conservation authorities.

Using conservative losses of six or seven koala a year predicted in his Ballina Shire-wide koala study, Dr Phillips's modelling revealed the group of 80 koalas which the highway would dissect would not survive the impacts on their habitat.

But what Dr Phillips did not expect is that the larger colony of 120 koalas to the west would also face "functional extinction" by 2035.

"What I was interested in is if the displacement of a small number of animals in that population would tip over the entire population," Dr Phillips said.

"The smaller of the two population cells would collapse as a result, but what I didn't expect was the bigger population would collapse about 20 years later because of the lack of replenishment from the eastern population."

The Blackwall Range population is widely recognised as a very robust ancestral source colony, which has fed the surrounding Lismore, Ballina, and Byron shire populations to the north and west.

It is healthy, unlike the Lismore population, which are known to be inbred and suffer more from diseases such as Chlamydia - and "without doubt" the most important population in Ballina Shire, if not the region.

Dr Phillips said with koala populations already on a gentle decline, the massive impact of the Pacific Hwy on this significant population could easily become the "final straw" for the entire koala population north of the Richmond River.

Topics:  koalas pacific highway upgrade



Heatwave: Temperatures reach 34 degrees, tipped to hit 43

Generic hot weather photo.

And it's only going to get hotter, folks.

Lismore man accused of murdering his son refused bail

A Lismore man will reappear in court next month to face charges of murdering his 29-year-old son.

Court hears the post mortem results have not been finalised

Guard 'heard screaming', saw Byron woman next to dead cop

epa05516083 Australian national Sara Connor (C) participates in the reconstruction of the death of a police officer at Kuta beach in Bali, Indonesia, 31 August 2016. Australian Sara Connor and British national David Taylor, were arrested by Bali police, and are accused of murdering a local policeman on Kuta Beach. The body of police officer Wayan Sudarsa was found with deep wounds to his head and neck on Kuta beach on 17 August 2016.  EPA/MADE NAGI

Security guard 'heard screaming', saw Byron woman next to dead cop

Local Partners

Heatwave: How to keep cool safely

WHEN the temperatures rise, we all start looking for ways to keep cool. For many of us, these tactics involve water.


Ahoy! The Wooden Boat Festival is on its way

Members of the Richmond River Rowing & Sailing Club admire Mark Pierce's boat Northbridge Junior, ahead of the 2017 Wooden Boat Festival on Australia Day. Back row, from left, is Mark Pierce, Jacqueline Heap, Commodore Phil Robbins and James Kalaf. At front, from left, is Tony Pullyn, George Renault, David Bowler, Geoff Benson and Maurice Renault.

Australia Day event a must-see for fans of timber craft

Northern Rivers murder mystery takes out award at Flickerfest

MURDER MYSTERY: Northern Rivers young actress Yasmin Honeychurch in a still from the award-wiining film In a Canefield by Emily Avila and Coralie Tapper.

Finding'little star' brought film shoot to the region.

Join the challenge to Live Life Large this Friday

Deborah and Neil Marks have been inspired by Jodie's Inspiration to Live Life Large.

Business owner's invitation to join her on Jodie's Inspiration hike

Why The Walking Dead cast are paid a pittance

Despite massive ratings the cast haven't been shown the money

50 Shades Dornan on why he hates the film

Dornan and Johnson’s frequent sex scenes were ‘awkward’ to film. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Jamie Dornan doesn’t blame you for hating 50 Shades

Chris Hemsworth’s X-rated compliment to former co-star

Australian actor Chris Hemsworth poses on the red carpet for the European premiere of the film 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' in London on April 21, 2015.

THOR star once paid former Home and Away actress a lewd compliment.

'I can't keep my mouth shut any longer'

Singer George Michael.

George Michael’s cousin blasts singer’s boyfriend Fadi Fawaz.

Fresh faces: NCIS gets a shake up with new cast members

The new cast of NCIS, from left, Rocky Carroll, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, David McCallum, Brian Dietzen, Wilmer Valderrama, Emily Wickersham, Mark Harmon, Duane Henry and Jennifer Esposito.

THREE new characters join naval drama for season 14.

First the Onesie, now an Xbox One S inflatable controller

Fancy an inflatable Xbox One S controller?

Inflatable controller 'perfect sidekick' for Australia Day party

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

$13 million development pulls out of Lismore

GAME CHANGER: The $13 million proposal by Quest proposal is for a three-storey complex featuring 41 serviced apartments, 53 on-site carparks, 24-hour on-site management, a gymnasium and modern guest facilities.

'Game changer' proposal falls through

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

LAND VALUES: Figures reveal how much your property is worth

Land values in Ballina have increased over the past 12 months.

Property in one Northern Rivers town has increased by almost 14%

6 new estates to build a home on the Northern Rivers

Land estates are available now on the Northern Rivers with some stages opening up soon.

Looking for a place to put down roots and raise a family?

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!