Posted on 20th April 2022 by Media Relations
First-of-its-kind rewilding project to give refuge to Koalas
Koalas and other threatened species are to be given a safe haven, in a first-of-its-kind 5,000-hectare Box-Gum Woodland Rewilding Reserve, led by Taronga Conservation Society Australia thanks to a $16m investment from the NSW Government.
The major Box-Gum Woodland Rewilding Project will see more than 5,000 hectares of box-gum grassy woodlands in NSW – a critically endangered ecological community – restored and revegetated. This project prioritises establishing climate change resilient future habitat for endangered Koalas and a significant number of listed threatened species.
The project – the largest of its kind and part of the NSW Koala Strategy – will be a significant tool in protecting fragile Koala populations.
NSW Environment Minister James Griffin said: “Bold conservation efforts are key to supporting our biodiversity. This project is delivering a crucial restoration project, creating more than 5,000 hectares of climate change-resilient habitat for koalas and other threatened species,” Mr Griffin said.
“Box-Gum Woodlands are a critically endangered ecological community, with less than 7 per cent remaining. We’re restoring and revegetating them over the next decade to help protect the future of koalas.”
“This project will contribute to our goal of doubling the koala population in NSW by 2050.”
The Box-gum Woodland Rewilding Project will also provide vital climate resilient habitat for a wide range of threatened and iconic species such as Spotted-tail Quoll and Regent Honeyeaters, providing maximum return on conservation investment. As habitat condition improves through restoration, Taronga will also pursue opportunities to reintroduce additional species to the area.
Cameron Kerr AO, Chief Executive of Taronga Conservation Society Australia, said: “At Taronga, we have made a pledge to protect our iconic species. This project is an exciting step forward, transforming 5,000 hectares into a thriving ecosystem for Australian wildlife.
“In order for Koalas to thrive, we need a diverse range of habitat types right across their range and habitat types such as Box-Gum Woodlands play an important role in maintaining resilient populations.
“This project is for threatened species and for the people of NSW. It will become a refuge for wildlife that will inspire the next generation, who will have unique opportunities to see it as the site is restored in the years to come.
At this scale, the critically endangered Box-gum Woodlands will have capacity to support a new population of koalas, potentially numbering in the hundreds over time.
Koalas will be translocated to the site when the habitat condition allows. As habitat condition improves through restoration, Taronga will consider reintroducing additional species to the area.
The project will also provide education opportunities for the next generation, from kindergarten students to post-graduate researchers, allowing them to learn about, and study, wildlife in a unique environment.
The Box-Gum Woodland Rewilding Project builds upon Taronga’s commitment to becoming net zero by 2025, and its pledge to save six iconic Australian species, including Platypus, Koalas, Marine Turtles, Greater Bilby, Corrobboree Frogs and Regent Honeyeaters from extinction.