koala habitat

 

The ubiquitous Commonwealth Games mascot Borobi the blue koala belies the fate of the “Aussie icon” it represents. It is ironic that Borobis flourish in the very region where koala numbers have declined drastically in recent years.

Koalas are an endangered species in Queensland, NSW and the ACT and land clearing has long been recognised as the culprit. As well as the animals killed during the actual process of land clearing, the destruction of habitat results in increasing population losses.

Just weeks after a report highlighted plummeting koala populations, the federal government has given approved for coal seam gas (CSG) company QGC to bulldoze 54 hectares of koala habitat on Queensland's Western Downs.

Forest conservation groups have demanded that the New South Wales government immediately halt logging operations in state forest areas known to be koala habitat. They fear that proposals by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to allow clear felling of large areas of forests on the NSW north coast could be the catalyst that tips the area's koalas onto the path to extinction.

On July 4, federal environment minister Greg Hunt approved the Shenhua Watermark coalmine in the Liverpool Plains in north-west NSW.

It will turn 35 square km of prime agricultural land into a giant hole, contaminate aquifers and, as the July 8 Sydney Morning Herald said, “is expected to destroy 789 hectares of an endangered ecological community, much of it box-gum woodland, and 148 hectares of other woods”.

The mine will also destroy 800 hectares of koala habitat, condemning the local koala population to extinction.

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