Koalas are on the brink of extinction according to new research from the RSPCA and WWF Australia.
The report found tree-clearing is being overlooked, and Australia’s Koala population is suffering.
‘The enormous extent of suffering and death caused makes tree-clearing the single greatest animal welfare crisis,’ the report found.
‘Yet it is largely unmonitored and unstudied, and neglected in wildlife policy and law.’
Queensland wildlife carer Clare Gover told The Daily Telegraph the koala population is being ‘pushed further and further to the brink.’
‘Your grandkids may never see them in the wild and that’s heartbreaking,’ she said.
Concerns are held for the Campbelltown-Wollondilly koala population as the NSW government and Campbelltown City Council plan to build up to 33,000 homes in the middle of their corridor – forcing koalas to travel into residential areas for food and cross dangerous roads.
‘Koalas are going right in the middle of suburbia, they are literally in people’s front yards,’ Wollondilly Shire Council’s environment education officer Damion Stirling told AAP on Wednesday.
The area, home to about 300 koalas, is also the site of the first recorded koala sighting by a European in 1798.
The proposed development will stretch across four townships from Campbelltown, Wedderburn, Appin to Picton.
Mr Stirling is calling for the koala corridor that lies in the middle to be given a conservation status and consideration be given to buffer zones and fencing along the corridors to ensure their protection.
‘We understand the need for extra housing but want to see the appropriate environment surveys are done and that conservation protection put in place for that koala corridor to make sure they are preserved for generations to come,’ he said.
Road strikes and dog attacks also threaten the colony, with the marsupials using three main roads as crossings resulting in nine koala deaths in the last two weeks of August.
Recommendations for fencing and safe koala crossings along these roads have been put forward to the Roads and Maritime Service but wildlife conservationists say people need to be aware and vigilant.
‘We’re never ever going to stop progress but we need to appreciate how vulnerable they are,’ Sydney Wildlife koala co-ordinator Rhonda Phillips said.