Will future generations see koalas in the wild

Koalas disappearing in Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens

Koala sightings in Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest are at their lowest in the last 15 years and they will probably never recover to the levels of six years ago, according to the local environment group.

In his report to the annual meeting of the Myall Koala and Environment Group, secretary Ian Morphett said loss of habitat was the main cause.

He said in 2014, the Rural Fire Service introduced the 10-50 Rule allowing trees within 10 metres of buildings in bushfire zones to be removed without approval. It was estimated that up to 20 per cent of trees were cut down in Hawks Nest alone, including a number of important trees that were established koala homes. There have also been more trees cut down and land totally cleared for new buildings.

“This has strongly affected the koala corridor connecting Hawks Nest to the national park,” Mr Morphett said. “Tea Gardens has continued to see new large housing developments reducing the number of wildlife corridors in and out of the town.”

He said these included intensive housing in Palm Lake Resort and the removal of hundreds of swamp mahoganies to create Asset Protection Zones in residential, commercial or industrial areas. He said there have also been additional housing construction in the Grange, earthworks related to Riverside at Tea Gardens and the soon-to-commence North Shearwater development. 

The Myall Koala & Environment Group is proposing that, in its 30th anniversary year, it embarks on a new era developing a whole new strategy for koala preservation on the Myall Coast.

He said: “We have healthy populations surrounding our towns and our emphasis must be on preserving and enhancing fauna corridors.”

Mr Morphett appealed to everyone in the twin towns area to continue reporting koala sighting on the Hotline answering machine at 4997 0878.