Victory! New South Wales Suspends Logging To Create Great Koala National Park To Protect Endangered Species

In a major victory for a quickly declining koala population in Australia, The Environment Minister of New South Wales (NSW) will halt timber harvesting operations immediately within critical koala hubs in the Great Koala National Park.

The government’s plan is to connect 175,000 hectares of publicly-owned state forests to existing National Parks, creating a 315,000 hectare nature reserve in the Coffs Coast Region, giving endangered koalas a protected habitat to live and thrive in.

Sadly, koalas are predicted to become functionally extinct in NSW by 2050, making places like the proposed Great Koala National Park even more important.

The species is in serious decline due to habitat destruction, bushfires, and road collisions. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 57,920 koalas remaining in the wild, possibly only as few as 32,065 left.

“We’re very relieved that the NSW Government has finally agreed to suspend logging in 106 mapped Koala Hubs, which are some of the most significant areas of koala habitat within the Great Koala National Park and NSW,” said Dr. Grahame Douglas, the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) president. “NPA’s next priority is expanding that protection to the remainder of the proposed Great Koala National Park, especially the habitats and connecting corridors that are so essential to the long-term survival of koalas.”

NPA also welcomed the release of Minister Sharpe’s announcement of consultation and assessment processes to ensure the Great Koala National Park aligns with the highest standards of environmental protection.

“NPA presented the original Great Koala National Park proposal to the former NSW Government in 2016. We’ll participate throughout the consultation and assessment process to help to bring this long overdue park into reality,” concluded NPA CEO Gary Dunnett.

“This decision is also a recognition that logging has a devastating impact on koalas and biodiversity. We applaud them for ensuring that the most important areas of koala habitat in NSW be protected,” said Dr. Brad Smith, the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales’ CEO. “Of course we’re also concerned about the remaining 95% of the proposed park area, and we look forward to working through that assessment to ensure it’s also protected from logging as soon as possible.”

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