The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) was once common and widespread throughout the eucalypt woodlands and forests of eastern Australia. Yet despite their iconic status a number of factors – including habitat clearing, hunting, natural disasters and disease – led to a substantial population and distribution decline post European settlement. In New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT, koalas are now listed as vulnerable to extinction with many populations persisting in fragmented and isolated habitats, and are increasingly threatened by further habitat loss, modification and fragmentation; vehicle collisions; dog attacks; disease; prescribed burns and wildfires; droughts and heatwaves; and climate change.
Location: New South Wales and Queensland
Status: Vulnerable in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory
Threats: Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation; vehicle collisions; dog attacks; disease; prescribed burns and wildfires; droughts and heatwaves; climate change
Our work: Habitat restoration, research and monitoring and community education & engagement
Taking action to conserve the Koala
To help address the national decline of koalas, Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) has established the koala a priority species under our threatened species recovery program Wild Futures. The program provides practical on-ground action to conserve our unique wildlife in line with approved plans. We focus on a range of species and threatening processes, and working with recovery teams and other experts we assemble resources and volunteers to ensure a future for our precious wildlife.
Case Study: Wollondilly Koalas
Conservation Volunteers Australia in partnership with the NSW Government has been working on the conservation of the koala population from Campbelltown to the Southern Highlands. In the Wollondilly Region of South Western Sydney our volunteers have completed more than 200 radio tracking surveys and planted over 500 trees in the Bargo River Gorge, an important koala corridor in the region.
Over the past 3 years we have had more than 200 volunteers contribute to the project and an additional 300 people have attended workshops and events, lifting the status of the koala in the Wollondilly region. All the information our volunteers have collected will contribute to improving the future for koalas and the bushland they call home. Read more about this project.
Check out this short film shot on a recent volunteer day
Description and Distribution
The koala is Australia’s largest and most distinct arboreal marsupial with its unmistakable large furry ears and pale grey to grey -brown fur. The koala is widely distributed across the woodlands and forests of eastern Australia, from far north-eastern Queensland to the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia (see map). The koala varies in size across its latitudinal range, from an average 6.5 kilograms in Queensland to 12 kilograms in Victoria with males weighing up to 50 percent more than females. The koala feeds exclusively on leaves, primarily from Eucalyptus species. Throughout their range koalas utilise a diverse range of Eucalyptus species, however within a given area only a few of the available Eucalyptus species are preferred.
You can be a part of these important projects by volunteering to help protect the koala, or donating to our Wild Futures program to ensure their survival. Conservation Volunteers Australia is working with state governments, local councils and land managers to mobilise and connect people with nature, making it easy for people to make a difference and help secure koalas in the wild.
We have urgent need of support for a number of practical conservation activities linked to protecting the koala, including:
• Habitat restoration: restore, increase and maintain known koala habitat and improve habitat connectivity through native tree planting and weed control.
• Research and monitoring: address knowledge gaps in koala research and monitor koala populations through guided citizen science surveys.
• Community education & engagement: increase community awareness and promote better understanding of local koala populations through targeted education and engagement initiatives.
Feature photo provided by Friends of the Koala