10 things you can do to stop koalas from going extinct
A TARGETED new campaign to help stop the decline of koalas on the Northern Rivers has been launched by a Lismore-based volunteer group.
Friends of the Koala launched the Please Help us Prevent a Local Extinction campaign this week.
The group's president, Dr Ros Irwin, said koalas would "disappear from this part of the world unless behaviours change".
She said habitat loss was a core driver of the koala's march to extinction.
"Look at the enormous development planned for West Byron," Dr Irwin said.
"They're talking about a huge increase in Byron Bay's population with a development facilitated by legal amendments to prevailing land-use planning on primary koala habitat.
"That's happening in a coastal strip which is home to a dwindling population of less than 240 koalas. Going ahead with this development will support an ongoing litany of habitat clearing and fragmentation that's slowly driving koalas to extinction."
Friends of the Koala believe there are less than 100 estimated koalas on the coastal Tweed region and between 285 and 380 estimated koalas in the Ballina Shire.
Lismore's estimated population of around 1800 is also declining.
Wildlife ecologist Dr Steve Phillips, who has studied local koala populations extensively, said south-east Lismore had 0.34 koalas per hectare - the highest density of koalas recorded anywhere on the Far North NSW coast.
"This suggests habitat is at peak carrying capacity so every tree counts," he said.
"The majority of koala habitat is on private land, reinforcing the importance of land owners to koala survival.
"Maintaining habitat connectivity across the landscape is crucial for sustaining healthy, genetically diverse."
Friends of the Koala is now urging people to act.
"We're asking people to help us prevent a local koala extinction by taking some of the 10 actions on our Action List, and asking friends and family to do the same," Dr Irwin said.
The Action List:
1. Tell people local koalas are going extinct
2. Share social media posts
3. Use the campaign materials
4. Oppose habitat destruction
5. Write to a politician
6. Plant koala food trees
7. Watch out for koalas in trouble
8. Drive carefully and be vigilant
9. Contain pets
10. Save 24-hour rescue number 6622 1233 to your phone.