The Upper House have supported the motion by Cate Faehrmann calling on the Government to halt all rezoning and development at Gilead in SW Sydney until underpasses and corridors meet the Chief Scientists recommendations for koalas.
Read more and watch the motion being put forward HERE
Koala Corridors at Mt Gilead.
The failure to address the connectivity of the corridors for the koalas in Stage 1 of the Mt Gilead is an unacceptable departure from the recommendation of the Chief Scientist.
This, and the failure to undertake a Species Impact Statement between 2006 and 2016 before the law was changed, is not acceptable.
It is incongruous that the State Labor Party is willing to make a koala sanctuary in the Campbelltown region, and the Local Council, chaired by the Mayor, a member of the Labor Party is at odds with the State Party’s intentions.
The corridors are essential for the survival of the koalas, as evidenced by the extinction of the koalas in Avalon on the Northern Beaches. It bodes ill for koalas when the authorities in charge of the development ignore the recommendations of the Chief Scientist.
History will record your actions, and if you do not address the connectivity of the corridors to the needs of our disease free koalas. We just won’t have them anymore. NO and, ifs or buts.
Which side of history does this State Government,, which is aware of the Global opposition to this development, want to come down on?
Will you be the people who destroy the last Chlamydia free colony in NSW?
Simply copy and paste as these are all comma separated ready to paste in one go into your To: line
Use whatever you like from this blog post to make a stand and let the Australian Government and World Leaders know that YOU LOVE KOALAS and want them to be around for generations to come.
To developers and politicians they are an enemy to progress.
We have gotten used to fighting for them, we are battle weary but we will nor quit and make a stand every time their homes are threatened.
The hardest part of campaigning to save koalas and other species is that we are not playing on a level field.
We don’t have a cadre of lawyers, we don’t have endless buckets of money, but we have heart and we care.
Many of the decisions regarding koalas end up in Court Action, it seems that when laws are made they are vague and contestable. Then, if we have a win for the koalas, we are subject to appeal. It is a hard road.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
Write to make your position on this known to the addresses below, and send copies to anyone else you know can help – other politicians, media outlets, celebrities that might help, friends and family.
SAMPLE LETTER YOU MAY COPY AND PASTE
I wish to lodge a complaint against the decision to allow LendLease to develop a housing estate at Mount Gilead.
I love koalas.
Campbelltown’s koalas matter to me and I am writing to object to the LendLease plans for development of a housing estate because:
They are the last known chlamydia free colony in NSW
The proposed housing development by Lendlease will sever the corridors that link their range
The developers are not safeguarding connectivity
The impact on all wildlife, not just koalas has not been assessed fully
Bushfire threats are not being adequately addressed
Water resources will be seriously impacted and affect both wildlife and people
The cumulative impact of population growth in the area will put huge stress on the roads
This development is not in the public interest, nor the koalas interest.
I have read many information sources to come to this position.
Campbelltown’s koalas are the last known chlamydia free colony in NSW.
Why? We don’t know and we want to find out.
A koala range is known to be 100km’s. The proposed housing development by Lendlease will sever the corridors that link the koala’s range. We know that the koalas need a corridor of 450 metres. The developers would not allow the koalas this little bit of land to safeguard connectivity for ranging and breeding purposes.
The Campbelltown Koala Population is the last large. expanding and Chlamydia free population in the ACT, NSW and Queensland according to the Draft National Koala Recovery Plan.
Living in Campbelltown during the 2019 – 2020 fires was terrifying, with the State of NSW on fire, the loss of animal life was incalculable.Sadly for our carers it was a disaster they will never forget. The last major bushfire in Appin was in the summer of 2001 / 2002. Which means when the fires start again, and they do every year, the new estate will have only one way in and out of Appin. It will be a human and animal disaster. To my knowledge there is no contingency plan for evacuation. The bush fire threat should be considered on the grounds of Precautionary Principle. Such an important part of planning should be in the forefront of any land development.
Species Impact Statement
Although this is no longer a requirement in the planning procedure, it was up until 2016.
Koala Habitat Destruction, Degradation and Fragmentation Clearing of Native Vegetation was listed in September 2001 as a ‘Key Threatening Process’ in NSW under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. Habitat destruction and degradation has devastating effects on populations of native wildlife including Koalas. As well as potential death or injury to Koalas during habitat clearing, habitat destruction and degradation are likely to increase pressure on adjacent habitat as remaining animals are confined to smaller areas, with individuals forced to live under suboptimal conditions. Campbelltown City Council Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management (Part 1: The CKPoM) 13 Over the forty years following settlement of the Campbelltown district, native vegetation was continually cleared for growing wheat and other cereals. By 1839 the Campbelltown area had been subject to extensive clearing of land for agriculture (Benson & Howell 1990)
There is no evidence that Campbelltown City Council undertook this study. Therefore any impact on wildlife has been ignored. There have been sightings of Rock Wallabies and other vulnerable species in the Council area.
Our most precious resource is unpredictable and will there be enough for everyone when we have an additional 1,700 homes, when we have 60,000 new homes? Industry that will be built for the incoming population will need water too. Currently water is pumped from the Shoalhaven River increasing stress on the oyster industry in the Shoalhaven. It is obvious that when we go through another period of drought there will be an issue with supply.
Climate change is impacting Campbelltown drastically, I have recorded 50 degrees centigrade in my yard, it was hotter but my thermometer only goes up to 50 degrees. Official records show that the top temperature in the area was 45.5
The proposed influx of new residents, will put further stress on the deadly Appin Road, not only do we lose many native animals, the research on koala deaths has been published by Dr Rob Close on this stretch of road and it has claimed many people’s lives.
The egress and ingress into the new estate is available only via Appin Road. You only have to look at the terror of the people of Tahmoor on the 19th December 2019. There is no clear plan for evacuation from Appin, when the fires come again. Appin last burnt in 2001/02, it will burn again.
DPIE is working on a plan of management for bushfire within the Greater Macarthur Growth Area which will not be released until 2022 and then the rezoning of properties can be investigated. The 2019/20 were destroying homes on the Illawarra Escarpment four hours after they commenced at Ingham’s in short grass because a spark hit the ground from telegraph wires arcing and we are sure koalas and other animals and birds were killed we lost at least two species of birds Double Bar Finches and Rock Warblers and they have not come back, we did go into the Dharawal NP about a week after the fires went through and we were very pleased to find two koalas neither had signs of injury and we believed that they had taken shelter in the deep gorges within the park.
Become part of the intro to every Koala Gardens YouTube video with a personal thank you.
Do you know the old song by Dire Straits – Money for nothing?
If you don’t just do a google search and get familiar.
Koala Gardens is having some fun branding the videos produced as KTV (obviously for Koala TV)
Now we are looking for a fun take off of the song with some changed lyrics.
The lyrics are in the RULES below.
Can you sing? Great, have a go at singing, one line, a couple of lines or even all of it.
Can’t sing? Great, how about you just say a line or two with enthusiasm?
The entries will be combined so that the intro song is a combination of all different people doing a line, so you can enter with just your take on a single line! As little as “I want my” will get you in for a chance to be part of the intro jingle and be thanked at the start of every Koala Gardens video.
Here are the RULES
You cannot use music in your recording as it may flag a YouTube copyright breach. (if you need music to sing to, use headphones or ear buds)
You can enter as many times as you like.
You can sing or say any line, combination of lines, or the entire set of lyrics below.
You must submit your entry in any one of the following ways:
DM me on Facebook or Instagram and I will supply email address
Upload in a reply to the competition post on Facebook or Instagram
Supply the name you wish to be recognized as if you win (could be your real name or a social media handle)
DEADLINE for entries is September 22, 2021
You must use the lyrics below, or you may submit lyrics you think fit the plight of koalas better. You cannot use the original lyrics such as money for nothing.
Koala Gardens was recently interviewed on this topic by a journalist student.
The process of being interviewed was really very enjoyable. We conducted the interview using zoom and I was reminded what a fantastic tool this is, and how all of us working to save koalas should use collaboration tools more.
Kristen had researched the koala issue well before the interview and was able to ask insightful questions and relate answers to the true issue koalas face – the loss of habitat.
Kristen chose a range of people to interview, that span across the northern regions of koala habitat down to the southern areas. This has made her article valuable because the issue is always habitat, but the specific threats and koala response to this issue does vary.
I would highly recommend giving the article a read. As a student, Kristen received a fantastic result for her article as it has been published on the Deakin University at the link below.
We can all make a difference by becoming involved in some way – lobbying, volunteering, planting on our own land, clearing weeds and rubbish, supporting people and organisations and sharing information.
Huge thanks to Kristen for making her mark with this article – we can only hope for this to become a standard for journalists of the future to aim for.
On the north coast of NSW (New South Wales) in Australia, in a small regional area called Tuckurimba, local resident Katrina Jeffery spends an hour each morning on her quad bike checking the trees on her property for koalas. She has been doing this for over 4 years as part of her mission to help restore important koala habitat in the region. Katrina has an in-perpetuity conservation agreement with the BCT and now receives annual funding to continue her important work in koala habitat protection and restoration.
She runs field days for local residents to educate and encourage them to get involved in koala conservation, and even has her own website!
Knowing her from the facebook page
“Koala Gardens at Tuckurimba” and becoming interested in koalas and their
conservation, I visited Katrina at the beginning of September. It has been a unique
opportunity to understand better all the issues koalas and all wildlife are currently
She has been regenerating the habitat on her property over the last years with the help of a professional team. They have planted hundreds of trees many of which koala food trees. This has increased the stability of a koala colony with an increasing number of other koalas using it as a corridor.
I already knew the names of the koalas belonging to the colony of which in just few hours we got to see Bullet, an almost 4 year-old male and Stevie, a female with a joey just beginning to emerge from her mother’s pouch. Then we saw another koala, Julius, not yet belonging to the colony but not new to the Koala Gardens.
We visited Friends of the Koala in Lismore where we could see how busy they are rescuing injured and sick koalas, rehabilitating those in care, gathering fresh leaves for them, educating the public and many other things connected with koala preservation. We attended a presentation given by Lindy whose finger was wounded by of the bite of a rescued koala: a reminder that in spite of their cute appearance they are wild animals and only licensed and trained people should handle and rescue them when it is appropriate. Ordinary people should just report every koala sighting and above all call when they spot sick, injured or orphaned koalas that need to be rescued as soon as possible. Almost all of them are volunteers dedicating their free time to these amazing yet threatened creatures.
I also had the opportunity to meet Marley the first employed Vet Nurse. They are doing everything they can to preserve the koalas but the area they cover is huge, basically the Northern Rivers region up to the Queensland border to the north. For this reason, they need additional volunteers.
Katrina also took me to three sites where usually there is koala activity, in two of them we saw a koala: one healthy male and a girl with a joey. The other site, Tucki Tucki Reserve, used to be a 4 ha area populated by many koalas but Katrina hasn’t seen them for a few years now and we didn’t get to spot any, neither there were clear signs of recent koala activity (particularly we didn’t find scats): this was sad because it’s a viable habitat but there might be some reasons they are no longer there.
There are so many questions that are yet to be answered. As Katrina said “the more I know about them, the more questions I find that I don’t have answers to”.
In fact, you might think the koala is a
predictable and simple animal whose main occupations are sleeping and feeding on
eucalyptus leaves, instead they are indeed very complex marsupials organised into
a hierarchical and peculiar society. Each koala has his/her own home range and frequently
his/her own home trees with the alpha male and alpha female having the larger home
range overlapping the others. When they become independent from their mothers, they
often move from their original territories to find new ones they can call home.
Unfortunately, having more and more fragmented
habitat because of land clearing, urban sprawl and busier and busier roads, they
are facing many more dangers than in the past. Hence the high mortality rate due
to vehicle hits, domestic and feral dog attacks and stress-related diseases such
as chlamydia and koala retrovirus.
When in the trees they’re much less prone
to these risks whereas on the ground their lives are always in potential jeopardy.
Unfortunately, limiting their movements
with fencing is not a solution because it would create inbred population not genetically
diverse thus often weaker, more inclined to diseases. Moreover, it would prevent
other koalas from entering a safe and viable habitat. One could think that there
are plenty of trees in rural areas, but there are only three primary koala food
trees: Forest Red Gum, Tallowwood and Swamp Mahogany.
Then there are a dozen or so secondary koala
food trees such as the Paperbark and the Pink Bloodwood, but they’re just a fraction
of the hundreds of eucalyptus trees.
On Katrina’s property there are primary koala food trees and also secondary food trees. Many are self-sown, others have been planted and are used to supply the koalas in care at the Lismore Friends of the Koala centre. It’s amazing the quantity of leaves they need daily. To give the patients in care the best chance to heal, they provide them a wide variety of leaves of the highest quality.
But the habitat regeneration is not just
about koalas. On Katrina’s property there are now many vulnerable species. She has
put nest boxes on some trees for the little lorikeets, even though one is now used
by a family of squirrel gliders and another by a snake. It’s fabulous to see how
habitat can be regenerated and become home to a variety of native plants, herbs
My personal thought and little invite is
that many landowners should follow Katrina’s example restoring habitat on their
properties or at least a portion of them ensuring wildlife corridors crucial to
the survival of many species. It’s so rewarding and can make all the difference
for them but also for us in the long run.
A world without wild animals would not just
be very sad but also not hospitable for us. There is no turning back from destroying
an ecosystem and the consequences are going to hit us sooner or later. Watching
wild koalas living a peaceful life in the wild as it’s meant to be is so exciting
and totally different than just seeing them inside zoo precincts. And, think about
this, just a few years ago a koala was not a frequent occurrence on Katrina’s property.
maybe just two individuals in a month. Last month, Katrina recorded 20 different
individuals on her property.
It may seem a miracle but everyone living in the beautiful surroundings can make it happen.
In conclusion, I can’t thank Katrina enough
for educating me, answering my questions and sharing her passion that has become
a way of life making a positive impact for the koala, wildlife in general and, ultimately,
all of us.
Regenerating native habitat is usually achieved using two basic methods, and they are not exclusive. A great result is often achieved by using both together.
Planting saplings that either come from elsewhere or grown from seed on the property.
Encouraging and nurturing natural regeneration.
Koala Gardens now has 8 years of regeneration work to observe and compare and during this time both strategies have been used.
Planting of species as tube stock is the only option when you need to add species to the property that do not currently exist. One thing it is important to consider when choosing species to introduce is what habitat and species are endemic to the area. Unfortunately, in the past, species have been planted outside of their native area, thinking that if they are Australian they are native. This is not always true.
Knowing what is endemic allows you to plant the habitat that will quickly assist the correct ecosystems to be re-established or repaired.
Regeneration needs to focus on entire ecosystems, rather than thinking in terms of creating plantations. This will mean considering the under-storey, mid-storey and top-storey with the flora, and considering the fauna that will be involved from insects through to the larger mammals, reptiles and birds.
Plantation thinking often results in mono-cultures or out-of-area plantings that don’t support the local fauna as well.
However, what has interested me more in my observations is two main areas of difference I have observed in how natural regeneration trees behave and grow, and in how the koalas behave in response to them.
In order to reproduce a tree will flower and these flowers must be pollinated to produce viable seed. There are a range of animals that assist this happening from fruit bats, to honeyeater birds to bees and other insects. In eucalyptus trees the seed is contained inside gum nuts which protect the seed until it is fully formed.
Each mature eucalyptus tree may release tens of thousands of seeds in a single year. Some of the seed falls to the ground around the parent tree, and some may be born on the wind to fall some distance away.
If conditions are right, there could be hundreds of young seedlings that result. They may be sparsely positioned or there may be clumps of saplings. Not every sapling is going to grow to maturity for many reasons. However, as they are growing, there are many benefits to growing in a community.
Naturally sown saplings generally grow at a slower rate than saplings grown in a nursery and planted as tube stock, and are often much closer to each other than deliberate plantings.
The next article will discuss the pros and cons of slower growth, and following articles will address community living of trees.
The constant balancing act a koala is involved in while feeding, goes way beyond what can be seen. The koala analyses the leaves to ensure they contain enough water and not too much toxic eucalyptol.
Eucalyptus leaves are very high in fibre, which means the koala’s stomach fills up quite quickly. If they were also high in calories, then a nice full stomach would mean fuel to give them energy.
However, because eucalyptus leaves are low in calories, they feel full quite quickly, and they also feel tired.
I have often observed a koala actively awake and eating, then reaching a point where it will literally fall asleep where it takes in the last leaf. It always appears that they eat until they can fit in no more and the need to sleep overtakes them.
To complicate the choice of leaves to eat, the chemical composition of leaves on any given tree is not a constant, but a variable. Many factors affect the composition of the leaves such as weather events, seasons, insect loads, disease, soil events and amount of browsing.
Adding to the complications is the fact that you cannot tell a ‘good’ leaf by looking at it. What this means to the koala, is that even though it has trees it knows in its own home range, they need to be analysed at every meal.
Koalas are not looking for the youngest, softest, greenest, brightest, freshest leaf or tree. At times, certainly a koala may eat the youngest tips ravenously, but that does not mean only young tips are preferred.
Many times I have seen koalas eating leaves that appear old, dry and even spotted with brown areas. At other time I see koalas plucking only the leaf, yet another time they eat a large amount of the stems.
I have also observed, with my daily record keeping of koala movements and use of trees on the property, that some trees are only used seasonally. This is not a consistent occurrence in itself. Some trees of the same species and a similar age (mature trees at least 50 years old), are used year round, some are used only at one time of the year, and some another time of year. There is nothing for the human eye to see that would indicate why this is so.
This supports the research, showing that koalas do stop and smell the leaf and analyse what to eat when. This is more intricate than choosing a tree or leaf for the taste, or to obtain a varied diet.
In order to cope with the low calorie content of their food source, the koala has a lower metabolic rate of about half that of most mammals. This is significantly low.
The result that we observe is that koalas spend 18-22 hours a day either sleeping or at least resting, so that their digestive system can work on the leaf they have eaten.
Even though koalas are often thought of as nocturnal, this is not strictly true. Koalas will wake at any time of the day or night and move about and eat as needed. They eat when their stomach empties, and sleep or rest to digest. They are most likely to have their most active period during the night, and most likely this will be in the early hours of the morning before dawn.