Koalas in NSW

By | Category: travel, Travel destinations

Koala. Image © NSW and Office of Environment and Heritage

From a WWF Australia, the University of Queensland and the (Australian) Nature Conservation Council comes some rather alarming news or should I say alarmist?

The two bodies have released a report suggesting that koalas will be extinct in the Australian state by 2050. Luckily for the animal, Tourism NSW and Tourism Australia it is only in NSW that they seem threatened if the report is to be believed. And it shouldn’t be.

This alarmist report – as some have termed it – says the extinction will occur because of the current level of land clearance for housing and commercial activity. Based on satellite imagery of a section of the northern part of the state it seems a big jump to assign such a conclusion to the whole of the state.

Since I am aware of koalas living in two national parks near Sydney and I can’t see any government having the stupidity to remove national park status then koalas will continue to thrive there. In May the NSW government announced a $A45 million koala strategy which includes the outright purchase of new lands as well as additions of state forest lands to the conservation estate. Just this month and before the report was published the government announced that 2000 hectares would be added to NSW’s conservation estate to protect the longer-term future of the State’s iconic koala population.

At present it is thought there are about 36,000 koalas in NSW (WWF Australia says 20,000) but the numbers have been declining Road kills are one of the concerns with tunnels and fences being put in place to try and reduce kills.

It does none of the three bodies any good in issuing a report with a such sloppy extrapolation. Even an undergraduate would tell you that you can’t extrapolate findings from one area to a greater area without some sort of further analysis.  The former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia tweeted “That is sensational rubbish and makes us doubt all of WWF statements” and he is probably right.

As for Tourism NSW and Tourism Australia, both organisations will continue to highlight koalas in the promotions and I expect to see them in the wild when I am there in November just as I will expect to see them in the years to come.

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