Celebrating Cores, Corridors and Koalas on Country

Stuart Blanch, WWF-Australia’s Senior Manager, Land Clearing and Restoration, holds a tray containing some of the 10,000 trees and shrubs that are being planted through Cores, Corridors and Koalas.

Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance partners, traditional custodians and one exceptional dog gathered on Gumbaynggirr land on the Coffs Coast on 2 November to view some of the work being delivered through GER’s partnership with WWF-Australia.

The Coffs Coast Hinterland is one of six priority regions in the Great Eastern Ranges that is benefitting from the ‘Cores, Corridors and Koalas’ partnership project. The partnership was formed in response to the unprecedented 2019-2020 bushfires to restore the health and resilience of habitat for koalas, greater gliders and other forest-dependent native animals.

“The sheer intensity and magnitude of last summer’s bushfire crisis was devastating and impacted large swathes of the Great Eastern Ranges. A phased response which ensured coordinated and complementary efforts to restore habitat and assist wildlife across eastern Australia was essential to addressing the challenge,” said Gary Howling, Executive Director of GER.

“By working in multiple priority locations across the ranges through our regional partner networks like Jaliigirr, we are creating corridors of effort to restore our landscapes at the scale needed.”

The Jaliigirr field day was hosted by the Coffs Harbour & District LALC on koala rich Gumbaynggirr country adjacent to Bongil Bongil National Park.

Gumbaynggirr elder, Uncle Mark Flanders, welcoming the group to country at the Jaliigirr field day assisted by Darrunda Wajaarr Ranger, Narina.

Once subjected to intensive logging and sand mining, the Mylestom property is now cared for and managed by the Coffs Harbour and District LALC’s Darrunda Wajaarr Ranger team.

The site is one of five in the Jaliigirr landscape that is being supported through Cores, Corridors and Koalas to provide vital new food for the iconic marsupial, reconnect core habitat, manage weeds and engage local communities.

The work builds on and complements many years of bush regeneration, cultural burns and plant and animal survey work that the local ranger team and Jaliigirr and its partners have been conducting at the site.

Wildlife scent detection dog Max with handler Jack from Canines for Wildlife. Max surveyed 35km of the Mylestom site over just three days earlier this year during which he uncovered evidence of significant koala activity. Scent detection dogs are being used to assist with Koala surveys across several sites in the ranges through Cores, Corridors and Koalas.

“WWF-Australia is committed to large landscape-scale reforestation and seeks to partner with organisations and communities in Australia that share that vision. That is why we love working with the Great Eastern Ranges and their partners to regenerate our landscapes for the benefit of local communities, nature and climate,” said Stuart Blanch, WWF-Australia’s Senior Manager, Land Clearing and Restoration.

“The field day was a good opportunity to see and experience some of the great work that is being achieved through GER and its partner networks.”

“Jaliigirr is one of GER’s exemplar partnerships. The alliance is a prime example of the power of supporting people in local landscapes to meet common environmental goals and then replicating those efforts across multiple landscapes to achieve impact post-fire at the regional and continental scale,” said Mr Howling.

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