Koala Habitat Protected As 459-Hectares Has Been Saved By Farmers To Bring Back The Species To A Region Of Victoria, Australia

Thousands of trees have been planted on a historic sheep-grazing property located in a premium koala habitat zone. The restoration project is aimed at bringing the iconic species back to a critical region of Victoria, Australia.

IFAW teamed up with Koala Clancy Foundation to plant 6,000 trees on the property which sits along the Moorabool River in Victoria. The owners of the 459-hectare property are former farmers passionate about restoring koala habitat.

“Koalas and other wildlife need trees to survive—it is as simple as that. Every tree we plant is a lifeline. It is heartwarming to see so many everyday people digging in to build a future for our iconic species,” said IFAW Wildlife Campaign Manager Josey Sharrad.

The region was once some of the best koala habitat in Victoria, but was cleared for farming many years ago—leaving koalas with only 20% of the critical habitat that they used to have. This is compounded by climate change which is pushing koalas further south as they try to escape the heat and dryness.

“Victorian wildlife is up against it. The state holds the infamous title of having the worst land clearing rate in Australia and our nation has the world’s worst mammal extinction rate. These records are disastrous and combined with climate change put our wildlife in the firing line,” said Ms Sharrad.

Thankfully, a small number of koalas have been sighted surrounding the river, clinging to patches of trees, and desperately seeking quality habitat.

“It has been 100 years since koalas have had habitat on this riverbank. 2023 is the year that IFAW and Koala Clancy Foundation will change that. I can’t wait to start the revegetation and give this land back to the wildlife,” said Koala Clancy Foundation President Janine Duffy.

“Koalas need this forest urgently, and I know they are nearby—I can almost feel them watching us as we start planting.”

Property owners Liz and Ross Wilkie have dedicated about five hectares of land for trees to be planted to encourage koalas to re-establish in the area.

“We know there are koalas in the area, but sadly, there were many more 10 years ago. There has been a marked decline in the last 20 years. We’re very hopeful this planting will bring koalas back to the area,” said Mr Wilkie.

“This is a fantastic approach by Koala Clancy Foundation and IFAW – we’re not just providing a corridor by increasing the number of trees, we’re also improving the surrounding ecosystem and creating habitat for native wildlife.”

An initial 3,500 trees were planted on June 3 and 4th, 2023, and a further 2,500 trees will be planted in 2024.

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