The clinical director of the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital says the human consequence of land clearing is the number one factor behind the decline of koala numbers.
A new report prepared on behalf of WWF-Australia highlights the number of koalas in NSW have declined by 26 per cent and some populations are headed for localised extinction.
The percentage related to koalas who lived in the last three generations and the research looked at a number of populations across NSW including the Port Macquarie-Hastings.
Ms Flanagan said there is still a chance for the population of koalas to recover from decline.
“It is sustainable if we do the right things but whether that happens is another story,” she said.
Ms Flanagan said the Native Vegetation Act is not favourable for wildlife.
“There are too many loopholes in things and too many layers of loopholes,” she said.
“Just because the koalas have been listed as a vulnerable species there is too much paper work out there that developers can manipulate.
“Money today wins over preserving habitat and koalas long term.”
The WWF-Australia report said it is estimated there are 2000 koalas in the Port Macquarie-Hastings and 10 per cent are admitted to the hospital each year.
Ms Flanagan said she believes the population of the Hastings currently sits at about 2500 koalas.
Across the country as well as the Port Macquarie-Hastings Ms Flanagan said industry is taking priority over the habitat of koalas or any endangered animal.
“All species decline worldwide whether it’s a koala, wombat or spider,” she said.
“The decline is all driven by human encroachment into habitat and without a doubt that’s the driver.”
Ms Flanagan said there is a focused area of vegetation in the Hastings which is what the hospital classes as the ‘engine room’ for koalas.
“It is where the source of good genetic material comes from,” she said.
Ms Flanagan said unfortunately the engine room is currently being decimated.
Ms Flanagan didn’t specify where the area of vegetation was located.
The second National Koala Conference is on June 2 until June 4 at Rydges in Port Macquarie.
The conference will focus on all aspects of koala conservation and koala rehabilitation.
Presentations on current research into diseases, drugs, translocation, regional koala projects, future predictions, behaviour, legislation.
There will be experts from around Australia who will be presenting at the conference and international vets from France, Hong Kong and Switzerland.
Ms Flanagan said it’s an opportunity for people to present the latest findings on research.
“It’s a science based conference,” she said.
The event is open to the public.
For more information or to register for the conference visit www.koalahospital.org.au/2nd-national-koala-conference-2
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