Funding boost for koala research

New research projects are receiving funding boosts from the NSW Government to help conserve koalas by filling knowledge gaps in disease management, climate change and the use of tree species for food and habitat.

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

Minister for Environment James Griffin said the NSW Government is investing more than $1.3 million in 8 research projects as part of the more than $190 million NSW Koala Strategy.

“We set the ambitious goal to double the number of koalas in NSW by 2050 and what we learn from this critical research will help us make better-informed decisions about the management and conservation of koalas across New South Wales,” Mr Griffin said.

“These projects will support science and research to build our knowledge of koalas and inform the important work being carried out as part of the more than $190 million NSW Koala Strategy, the biggest commitment by any government to a single species in Australia.

“Koalas are both environmental and cultural icons for all Australians, which is why it’s so important to conserve their habitat and secure their future in the wild.”

The 8 projects are being supported with grants from the more than $43.4 million in the NSW Koala Strategy that is specifically set aside to support science and research to build our knowledge of koalas.

The $1.3 milion in new research projects as part of the NSW Government’s Koala Research Grants includes funding for:

  • the University of Sydney to vaccinate koala populations that are at risk of getting chlamydia from nearby positive populations, and to understand the impact of heat stress on koala deaths through climate change
  • the University of Queensland to investigate if environmental stressors exacerbate disease in koalas and increase infectious viral activity, and to understand drivers and identify solutions to koala habitat loss and degradation
  • University of Sunshine Coast to evaluate the newly developed koala chlampydia vaccine at the population level
  • Science for Wildlife to evaluate how koalas use their habitat to inform management strategies under climate change
  • the Australian National University to understand the effect of fire on koala diets
  • Biolink to create a quantitative model of tree use by free-ranging koalas.

The Department of Planning and Environment is also hosting a 2 day Koala Research Symposium on February 2-3 to build on the success of previous expert workshops held in 2019 and 2021.

The Strategy focuses on conservation actions under 4 themes:

  • $107.1 million for koala habitat conservation, to fund the protection, restoration, and improved management of 47,000 hectares of koala habitat
  • $19.6 million to supporting local communities to conserve koalas
  • $23.2 million for improving the safety and health of koalas by removing threats, improving health and rehabilitation, and establishing a translocation program
  • $43.4 million to support science and research to build our knowledge of koalas.

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