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Koala sighting excites South Coast residents: “very important, very rare”

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Habitat threatened by logging, development, bushfires

A NEWLY ARRIVED resident of Dalmeny on the NSW south coast recently spotted a koala between Dalmeny and Bodalla near the Princes Highway. The sighting has been added to a local citizen science project. 

Keith Joliffe of the Eurobodalla Koala Project said “this is very important and very rare. We need to know if and how koalas are surviving in the area”. 

The koala was near the road side and had potentially just crossed, or was about to cross the highway. The new Dalmeny resident commented:

“Being new to the area, it has been quite thrilling to experience the local wildlife, with wallabies, birds and even stingrays visiting near our backyard on a daily basis, I didn’t realise the significance of the koala sighting and now understanding that their habitat might be under threat by logging, is really upsetting to process.

“Experiencing the 2019 bushfires from Broulee I have seen the devastation our local wildlife have endured and I hope common-sense prevails when it comes to protecting our local flora and fauna and I sincerely hope further investigation is taken to explore this site.”

Residents urged to listen for calls. Koala strategy.

Bodalla and Dalmeny residents are urged to listen out at night for this bushfire survivor and report any calls or sightings to help locate its movements. For recordings of koala calls visit wildambience.com.

Spring is the time when young koalas disperse to find their own territory and may travel great distances.

Dalmeny Matters group have been talking to Keith Joliffe about the importance of the forest in the Dalmeny Release Area to the Eurobodalla Koala Recovery Strategy.

“In the NSW Review of Koala Tree Use 2018, all the tree species listed (in the Dalmeny land release area) have koala-use ratings at some level, in some region.

“The Koala Recovery Strategy anticipates business and cultural advantages from a revived wild koala population, and this relies on the retention of connected, large enough stands of koala-rated trees. Koala decline in the Eurobodalla is mainly because of historical and ongoing clearing. Preservation of forest on crown land and private properties near Bodalla State Forest is a priority.” 

The Coastwatchers Association is also very concerned about the fate of the koala sited west of the corner of Big Rock Road and the Princes Highway in Bodalla State Forest. Until this most recent sighting was reported, this forest area was listed on the Forestry Corporation NSW portal website as “proposed for logging”. 

A bit of good news re logging

“After the koala sighting this compartment is no longer on the Forestry portal — logging plans have been abandoned.” said Joslyn van der Moolen, Community Liaison Coastwatchers Forest Working Group.

Forestry may have anticipated local community backlash to logging this koala habitat. Previous plans to log the Bodalla State Forest foreshore of Lake Brou were also cancelled by Forestry following a local Coastwatchers community campaign.

“Forestry is a government agency, funded by NSW taxpayers,
so responding to bushfire-devastated community concerns
to allow wildlife to survive is essential.

The Forestry industry needs to work with the Government to move 100% to plantations on marginal agricultural land and leave public native forests standing for wildlife, carbon capture and regional community use, in order to step up to current community standards” said van der Moolen.

For logging plans on the South Coast, including the map of Bodalla State Forest — Compartment 3005 the koala was seen in, visit the Key Logging Operations in Southern NSW table in the new NSW Nature Conservation Council Breachwatch website.

Concerned citizens can contact:
• Joslyn van der Moolen 0439 472921 
• Keith Joliffe 0427 546 156
• Dalmeny Matters at www.dalmenymatters.org

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