Battle for Blinky Bill: Farmers signing on to ensure koala habitats are saved

NOT LEFT HIGH AND DRY: Landholders across the Central West are being asked to assist in a Central Tablelands Local Land Services program to preserve koala habitats. This little guy was spotted in a tree at The Lagoon. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

NOT LEFT HIGH AND DRY: Landholders across the Central West are being asked to assist in a Central Tablelands Local Land Services program to preserve koala habitats. This little guy was spotted in a tree at The Lagoon. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

A PLAN is being put in place to arrest the decline in the local koala population and landholders are being asked to play their part.

The Central Tablelands Koala Project is being run by Central Tablelands Local Land Services (CTLLS).

At the core of the program is the goal of replanting, enhancing and protecting koala habitats near Bathurst and across the Central West.

To achieve this, landholders can apply for funding and assistance to re-vegetate, repair and protect bushland in areas of their property where koalas colonies are found, including a known koala corridor at The Lagoon.

Senior land services officer Clare Kerr said the threat in this region to the iconic Australian animal was all too real.

“Habitat loss remains one of the biggest threats to koalas across the state,” she explained.

“By expanding and protecting existing habitat we are doing our part to help reverse the decline of the koala.”

Early indications are the program will be successful: since February this year, CTLLS has funded 10 hectares of re-vegetation to restore koala feed trees, along with 30 hectares of blackberry control.

According to Mrs Kerr, the latter measure will prove especially important.

“Koalas are at their most vulnerable when they are on the ground, and blackberries can create an additional barrier which makes it harder for them to move to the next tree,” she said.

“Spraying and removal of the weed is very important to help reduce the time koalas spend on the ground, as that’s when they are exposed to predators such as wild and domestic dogs.”

As well as revegetation work and blackberry control, Central Tablelands Local Land Services has helped landholders across four properties to protect and improve the quality of 156 hectares of bushland used by koalas.

There are other, easier ways to aid the cause for those unable or unwilling to make modifications on their property.

Mrs Kerr said even just recording a koala sighting could prove useful.

“While koalas are frequently seen across the region, very few sightings have been officially recorded in the past decade,” she said.

“This makes it hard to justify and attract funding to continue conservation work.

“If you have seen koalas on your property or when travelling around the region you can help by recording sightings on the NSW BioNet website.”

If you have koalas on your property and are interested in a project to improve or increase habitat please contact project manager Colleen Farrow on 63637874.

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