Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Priorities for Koala Recovery

By Jonathan Rhodes

There is no “silver bullet” solution to declining koala numbers. Successful koala recovery is likely to require very different recovery strategies in different places.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

In April 2012, the koala was listed as vulnerable in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory under national environmental law (the EPBC Act). The koala is currently widely distributed across eastern Australia, but the listing acknowledges that the species is declining rapidly across much of its range and protection is critical. Having invoked Commonwealth protection, a major challenge now is to develop strategies for recovering declining populations so as to ensure the koala’s persistence into the future.

The koala’s wide distribution is a double-edged sword. On one hand, having populations spread widely helps to reduce the chance that the species becomes extinct because it means we don’t have all our eggs in one basket.

On the other hand it also means that because it is spread across many different land uses, climatic zones and vegetation types, it is exposed to different threats in different places. This makes it incredibly difficult to plan for koala recovery because we don’t have a “one-size-fits-all” recovery strategy that we can apply everywhere. Rather, successful koala recovery is likely to require very different recovery strategies in different places. Identifying what these strategies might look like and where to apply them across the koala’s range will be a fundamental component of developing a national recovery strategy...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.