A key koala habitat in the NSW Southern Highlands will be protected by the creation of a new national park, which the state government hopes will go some way toward stabilising declining populations.
The new 3558-hectare Guula Ngurra National Park is home to 139 species, including more than 20 threatened species such as the koala, glossy black cockatoo, flame robin and squirrel glider.
NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean on Sunday said koalas are “massively” under threat because of the loss and fragmentation of their habitats following last summer’s devastating bushfires.
There were about 30,000 koalas before the Black Summer fires and it’s now believed that number has been halved.
“You cannot protect koalas unless you protect trees and no better way to protect trees than by fortifying and expanding our national park estate,” Mr Kean told reporters.
“I want to make sure our kids, and their kids, and their kids are able to see koalas in the wild for many years into the future.”
Mr Kean said it was critical that the koala decline was stabilised enough so the population could grow and potentially double by 2050.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there have been two sightings of koalas in the new national park.
“Clearly it is not enough. We want to ensure that successive generations of people in our state don’t have to worry about koala extinction,” she told reporters alongside Mr Kean.
Aboriginal traditional owners recommended the name of the new park – Guula Ngurra – which means “koala country”.
The park is located about 25km northwest of Bowral and is made up of what was Tugalong Station, the Little Forest West property and an 808-hectare outlier of Bangadilly National Park.
Credit: Source link