The New South Wales government hopes record spending on koala conservation will help double the state’s population of the endangered Australian icon.
Environment Minister James Griffin said the government is injecting nearly $200 million into the government’s NSW Koala Strategy to boost habitat conservation, remove threats and deepen knowledge about the tree.
“We know there are multiple threats to koalas,” Griffin said.
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“We all want to see koalas thriving in the wild for generations to come.”
These threats included habitat loss, the aftermath of the devastating black summer bushfires of 2019-2020 as well as collisions with vehicles and dog attacks.
The lion’s share of the $193.3 million will go to funding 47,000 hectares of koala habitat over the next five years to help existing populations.
Nearly $20 million will go to helping local communities conserve koalas, while another $23.2 million will go to koala support programs, including relocation and rehabilitation.
The World Wide Fund for Nature says the investment is a worthy standard bearer for similar initiatives and deserves marks for innovation.
“It’s a big improvement over the first koala strategy because it includes explicit and ambitious goals and actions, major funding for habitat restoration and a commitment to national parks,” he said. conservation organization.
Koalas nearly blew up the NSW government in 2020 when the Nationals, then led by John Barilaro, threatened to end the coalition partnership with the Liberals over planning laws designed to better protect the animal.
Conservationists’ concerns about koalas have intensified following the devastating and deadly floods currently hitting the state.
An estimated 6,400 koalas were killed in the Black Summer bushfires, eventually forcing the federal government to list the species as endangered in February.
Australia has the highest rate of species extinction in the world and climate change is expected to increase the risk of further annihilation.