'Apocalyptic': Post-fire findings prompt plea for moratorium
'THOUSANDS' of koalas have been killed and around 30 per cent of koala habitat in north east NSW has been destroyed in the bushfires that affected the region last year, a conservation group has said.
The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) today released a statement calling for an immediate logging and clearing moratorium on all 'highly suitable koala habitat' as identified by the government.
NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said the region's koala populations had declined by more than 50 per cent over the past two decades, and blamed logging for removing large trees preferred by koalas for feeding and as fire refuges out of the reach of ground fires.
He claimed logging was making forests more "drier and flammable."
"Logging has had a profound impact on koalas and their chances of surviving our apocalyptic future," Mr Pugh said.
"Koalas face a precarious future, particularly if we continue to log their feed and fire refuge trees. The koalas need the same trees the loggers want.
"Given the immense loss of wildlife in the bushfires it is time to stop degrading their habitat and start restoring it. Business as usual is no longer an option if we want to save our wildlife."
Mr Pugh said the Banyabba population was one of the worst affected, after the Busby's Flat and Myall Creek fires burnt through around 84 per cent of koala habitat last year.
According to NEFA's monitoring of koalas in the State Forests south of Casino, around 90 per cent of koalas were lost from the fireground, meaning over three quarters of the Banyabba population is likely to have been lost.