[ASC-media] Koalas need more land to survive
jenni at econnect.com.au
Tue Nov 29 16:39:57 EST 2005
Koalas need more land to survive
29 November 2005
Koalas need natural bushland habitat of at least 100 hectares in size, according to new research supported by the Australian Koala Foundation (AKF).
The wide-ranging study conducted across three Australian states: New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria found that continuing urban and rural development is set to prove the maxim "No tree, no me".
"The loss of natural habitat has a devastating effect on koala populations once it falls below a certain threshold," says Mr John Callaghan from the AKF.
Researchers estimate that koalas need landscapes with at least a 40-60 percent of retained forest cover.
The research is a collaborative effort between the Australian Koala Foundation, the University of Queensland, and the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation.
"These much-loved mammals need large patches of at least 100 hectares, free from sealed roads and roaming dogs if they are to be around in the future," Mr Callaghan says.
The research team carried out extensive koala survey work in the Noosa Shire in southeast Queensland, Port Stephens on the NSW coast and Ballarat in Victoria to obtain results.
"This research provides us with proven threshold limits regarding habitat size and forest cover. It provides us with statistically meaningful data showing what conditions need to be for koalas to survive." Mr Callaghan says.
The AKF have worked with local governments on strategic planning for koala conservation and, until now, have needed to rely on focussing habitat protection on large areas of high quality, minimally fragmented koala habitat, without the support of quantitative data.
Mr Callaghan will be presenting the research findings at the Ecological Society of Australia's annual conference which begins on the 29th of November 2005.
Contact: Mr John Callaghan, Australian Koala Foundation, Brisbane.
Ph: (07) 3229 7233 M: 0419 778 601 Email: science at savethekoala.com
Media assistance: Jenni Metcalfe, Econnect Communication, 07 3846 7111;
0408 551 866; jenni at econnect.com.au, Michelle Riedlinger, 0400 577 843; michelle at econnect.com.au
PO Box 734
South Brisbane Q 4101
Ph. 07 3846 7111; 0408 551 866
jenni at econnect.com.au
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