It is hoped the listing of koalas as endangered in NSW, Queensland and the ACT will lead to greater habitat protection and education, the Koala Conservation Australia chairperson says.
Sue Ashton said the endangered listing was good and bad news.
"It will become much more of a priority now that we take care of them, and hopefully a lot more will be done to protect their habitat and really ramp up the education, so people can do what they can to help them," she said.
But Mrs Ashton said it was bad news our beautiful iconic koalas had reached the endangered stage.
"I think that in itself is heartbreaking," she said.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said on Friday [February 11] she was increasing the protection for koalas in NSW, the ACT and Queensland, listing them as endangered rather than their previous designation of vulnerable.
Ms Ley said the impact of prolonged drought, followed by the black summer bushfires, and the cumulative impacts of disease, urbanisation and habitat loss over the past 20 years led to the advice.
"The new listing highlights the challenges the species is facing and ensures that all assessments under the Act will be considered not only in terms of their local impacts, but with regard to the wider koala population," she said.
The federal government is providing more than $74 million to protect koalas.
Meanwhile, the National Recovery Plan for koalas, developed through scientific advice and public consultation, will go to the relevant states for their final adoption and will help guide state and local government strategies.
Mrs Ashton said they hoped both the NSW Koala Strategy and National Recovery Plan would have a lot of initiatives to go some way to help koala conservation.
Threats to koalas include habitat loss and fragmentation, disease, vehicle strike, bushfires, climate change and dog attacks.
Drones will be used, as part of Port Macquarie Koala Hospital's wild koala breeding program, to give a clearer picture of koala numbers across the local government area.
"That is going to give us more accurate numbers, we will be able to tell where there are koalas and we will be sourcing healthy koalas for the breeding program," Mrs Ashton said.
The breeding program will take place with healthy and wild koalas at the new koala hospital facility within the Cowarra State Forest.
It is hoped the world's first wild breeding program will be successful to bolster the koala population on the Mid North Coast.
The program has been funded by public donations received by the koala hospital, as a result of the 2019/2020 bushfires.
Major partners include Taronga Conservation Society, University of Sydney, University of Newcastle and the Australian Museum.
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