KOALA CORRIDOR: From left, Jim Kinkead (Tregeagle Landcare Group), Mark Wilson (Friends of the Koala) and Maree Thompson (Envite) on the site in Connor Rd, Tregeagle, where trees have been planted to restore Koala habitat.
KOALA CORRIDOR: From left, Jim Kinkead (Tregeagle Landcare Group), Mark Wilson (Friends of the Koala) and Maree Thompson (Envite) on the site in Connor Rd, Tregeagle, where trees have been planted to restore Koala habitat. M Merlet-Shaw

Roadside cafe for koalas

LISMORE'S urban koalas are under threat and could be extinct within 20 years, but they can be saved if corridors to their rural cousins are restored, says Mark Scott of the Friends of the Koala organisation.

That's why 400 new koala food trees have been planted along Connor Rd in Tregeagle, with the picturesque ridge identified as a core breeding habitat for Lismore's cuddly tree-dwellers.

The $20,000 project is being funded by the Federal Government's Care for Our Country program.

It's combined the local passion of the Tregeagle Landcare Group led by Connor Rd resident Jim Kinkead, Friends of the Koala animal expertise, and the project management know-how of bush restoration group EnVite.

Long-term, the vision is to renew the entire corridor along Connors Rd, which encompasses some 20 properties, a mix of macadamia farms and rural residential blocks.

"It's been identified as one of the key breeding areas and corridors to actually supply koalas to urban Lismore," Mr Scott said.

"The corridors enable the animals to move in and out and you get some genetic mixing."

Vigorous lantana bushes dominating the existing habitat have also been targeted in the project.

EnVite's Maree Thompson said the lantana at the base of the eucalypts stopped koalas climbing the trees, so removing it was a quick way to boost their food supply.

"It'll also free the ground so that native species can regenerate underneath and take the place of weeds," Ms Thompson said.

The project is an early sign of what's to come should Lismore City Council be successful in obtaining up to $4.5 million from the Federal Government's Biodiversity Fund to run similar projects in other key koala corridors.

A field day for those interested in learning more about restoring koala habitat will be held on Wednesday May 1 at Connor Rd.

 

KOALA HABITAT FIELD DAY

  • WHEN: May 1, 9.30am - 12pm
  • WHERE: 246 Connor Rd, Tregeagle 2480
  • WHAT TO BRING: Long pants and shirts, hat, sunscreen and insect repellent. Tools, equipment and morning tea will be provided.
  • RSVP: Maree Thompson on 6627 2800


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