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Thousands of koala trees planted on historic pasture

June 6, 2024 – For the first time in decades, koalas have been spotted at a historic sheep grazing area in Australia, where thousands of trees have been planted to bring back the species.

IFAW is teaming up with the Koala Clancy Foundation to plant more than 8,100 trees on its Moorabool River site in Victoria on June 15 and 16. This is in addition to the 3,618 trees planted in June 2023.

The region was once one of the best koala habitats in Victoria, but was cleared for agriculture years ago, leaving koalas with 20% of what they used to have. This is exacerbated by climate change, which is pushing koalas further south as they try to escape the heat and drought.

The first signs of koalas returning to the area were confirmed when a koala was spotted on the property in early June – the second sighting since the first trees were planted in 2023. Audio recordings have also picked up sounds of koalas on the property over the past year. .

“Hearing and seeing koalas so soon after we planted the first trees is a promising sign. It’s proof that if you build it, they will come,” said IFAW Wildlife Campaign Manager Josey Sharrad.

“Every tree planted is a lifeline for koalas and other wildlife. To see individuals dedicating parts of their country to this iconic species gives us hope for the future of Australian wildlife.”

Janine Duffy, chair of the Koala Clancy Foundation, said it has been 100 years since koalas had a habitat on this riverbank and these 11,718 trees would be the first step in returning the land to wildlife.

“After years of no koala sightings, we were so encouraged to hear koalas in the area after our planting in 2023, and finding two on the property was the icing on the cake,” Ms Duffy said.

“We have now increased the planting area to provide more habitat for these two koalas and hopefully others.”

The owners of the 459 hectare estate are former farmers who are passionate about restoring koala habitat. Liz and Ross Wilkie are hopeful that the recent sightings are just the beginning.

“We wanted to dedicate part of our estate to koalas, because the number of koalas here has clearly decreased over the past twenty years. Knowing that koalas have already been spotted since last year’s planting gives us even more hope that the population will recover while improving the surrounding ecosystem for other native wildlife,” Ms Wilkie said.

ENDS

press contact

Dominica Mack (before June 14)
m: 0460 432 901
e: [email protected]

Jen Walker (after June 14)
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About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) – IFAW is a global nonprofit organization that helps animals and people thrive together. We are experts and ordinary people, working in seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitat. The problems we face are urgent and complex. To solve them, we combine fresh ideas with bold action. We work together with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations and companies. Together we are pioneering new and innovative ways to help all species thrive. See how at ifaw.org

About Koala Clancy Foundation – Koala Clancy Foundation plants trees for koalas, creates new habitats, educates the community, supports scientific research and advocates for the protection of wild koalas and their forest habitats. The organization has planted 95,854 koala trees along rivers on Melbourne’s Western Plains and in East Gippsland, Victoria and plans to plant 300,000 koala trees on the Western Plains by 2030. Koala Clancy Foundation is an independent, registered charity and not-for-profit organization based in Staughton Vale. , near Geelong, Victoria. https://www.koalaclancyfoundation.org.au/