Koalas to get new habitat in northern NSW

·1-min read

Koalas could find a new home in NSW's Northern Rivers, where flood-devastated residents can help save the endangered species and earn carbon credits to boot.

The $2 million pilot program funded by the NSW government, World Wildlife Fund and carbon farming company Climate Friendly aims to help double the number of koalas on the east coast by 2050.

The Koala Friendly Carbon project offers carbon credit incentives to private landholders in the Northern Rivers to sign conservation agreements to permanently establish habitat for the marsupials on their land.

"Following drought, bushfires, and now floods there's an urgent need to accelerate our activity to protect and revegetate large areas of koala habitat," WWF landscape restoration project manager Tanya Pritchard said.

An estimated 64,000 koalas were killed when 5.5 million hectares was destroyed during the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires in NSW.

The federal government listed the species as endangered in February just before unprecedented floods inundated northern NSW.

The NSW government is aiming to secure 500 hectares of high-quality koala habitat where 250,000 trees will be planted to increase biodiversity and store carbon.

The successful environmentally conscious, animal-friendly applicants can start earning credits from the federal government's Emissions Reduction Fund after a year.

Earlier this month, NSW Environment Minister James Griffin announced a record $200 million for koala conservation to help double the state population.

Australia has the highest rate of species extinction in the world with climate change expected to raise the risk of further annihilation.

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