Coffs Coast residents are being treated to a series of koala workshops over the next several months aimed at boosting local knowledge of the Aussie icon.
Coffs Harbour is one of the few regions that still hosts a healthy population of the endangered species. Numbers of koalas in Australia have halved in the last twenty years due to habitat loss and fragmentation, disease, vehicle strikes, catastrophic bushfires and other ongoing threats.
The Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance engaged the City of Coffs Harbour to run the educational program as part of Cores, Corridors and Koalas – a partnership between Great Eastern Ranges and WWF-Australia to restore and connect critical habitat for forest-dependent wildlife.
The action-based education sessions are being run for members of the community including eight local school groups. Participants are being given the chance to learn all about koalas as well as get involved in practical exercises such as identifying the marsupial’s feed trees and identifying and collecting scats for research purposes.
Justin Couper, project coordinator at the Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance says that although the local koala population is currently doing well, they are at increasing risk from intense and ongoing pressures and threats.
“There is a lot of interest and need in the broader community for education on the species. This program is helping to fill that knowledge gap and showing Coffs residents the role that they can play to help support our local koala populations.”
Funding through Cores, Corridors and Koalas is supporting other activities to support the species in the region, including restoring and protecting important koala food trees and corridors and surveys.
The educational program also includes community tree planting events and the creation of learning material for schools and the broader community.
Locals interested in attending a koala workshop or tree planting event should keep an eye on the Our Living Coast newsletter or visit www.ourlivingcoast.com.au/Get-involved/Events