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Call to make hinterland a 'Noah's Ark' for koalas

WWF-Australia wants Federal Budget funding to provide koala sanctuaries on the Sunshine Coast.
WWF-Australia wants Federal Budget funding to provide koala sanctuaries on the Sunshine Coast. Ben Beaden

A KEY conservation group has called for the purchase of more national park land on the Sunshine Coast to create a "Noah's Ark" for the species.

WWF-Australia believes money should be allocated in Tuesday's Federal Budget to stop koalas from becoming extinct in south-east Queensland.

The Sunshine Coast region features on a map produced by WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Martin Taylor showing indicative areas where expanded or new national parks would significantly improve the chances of survival for the koala.

The map is based on University of Queensland and WWF research which maps current and future safe havens for wildlife, taking global warming into account.

Wildlife are already on the move as the world warms and weather becomes more extreme.

"Koala populations are collapsing in south-east Queensland and NSW due to rampant destruction and breaking up of their gum tree habitat," Dr Taylor said.

"It is critical that large areas be protected and reconnected to prevent extinction.  

"The best way to save threatened wildlife is to protect their bushland homes.

"Bushland is being bulldozed at an alarming rate.

"It's no wonder the list of our animals, plants, and ecosystems in trouble continues to grow."

The map highlights most of the Sunshine Coast hinterland as being suitable for koala conservation areas, although WWF-Australia has stressed it was not advocating for the entire area to become national park or suggesting that properties should have their tenure changed

"Endangered wildlife needs a place to call home, and one that will be safe for them even with climate change," Dr Taylor said.

"The parks that protect iconic wildlife like the koala are the backbone of the Sunshine Coast region's growing nature tourism industry.

"The Federal Government must revive investment in new parks and make the Sunshine Coast a priority."

Topics:  federal budget 2017 koalas conservation


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