KOALAS have a new secret weapon in the fight for survival: farmers.
The iconic Aussie animal has had a hard time over the last two decades, with drought-related habitat dieback, disease and wild dogs causing a massive population decline to about one-fifth their previous numbers in just fifteen years.
But the days of stress for the cuddly creature are over.
South West NRM, the local natural resource management group, is up for the challenge to reverse the trend. For years, SWNRM has been funding and organising farmers building huge new fences to protect their herd from wild dog predation.
The fences protect koalas too, argued South West NRM chair and Wild Dog Commissioner, Mark O’Brien.
“Koalas are now in for a fighting chance as landholders embark on a fencing feat no match for wild dogs. With over 3.5 million hectares already set to be fenced in, we hope to dramatically increase this area with further government support,” he said.
“Landholders are working collaboratively to manage wild dog populations within the fenced areas. Over population of kangaroos will also be better managed. By removing the main stressors in the environment and allowing regeneration of natural groundcover and water access, koalas and other critters will start to thrive.
“Koalas will remain protected in the long term as fenced areas are set to become safe havens for our wildlife. Landholders want to protect the native wildlife and habitats, but it’s an uphill battle when nature is working against them. The fencing will help achieve a more natural balance as management practices such as grazing pressure become much more controlled.”
The Collaborative Area Management project is funded through the Queensland Government Regional NRM Investment Program and the Feral Pest Initiative. Funding has also been provided through the Australian Government Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Australian Government’s plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy.
Prepared by Liz Todd, media consultant, 0457 831 512, email@example.com
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