Last year the 33,523 Paddy Pallin customers who said NO to a Bag helped raise $6,704.60 for the Paddy Pallin Don’t Bag the Environment Campaign and the Friends of the Orange Bellied Parrot. To put the amount of bags which Paddy Pallin customers said NO to into a visual sense 33,523 bags would be enough to fill a large Transit Van. To reduce the use of paper bags and to help the environment, this year we ask you to SAY NO! to a bag and Paddy Pallin will donate 20 cents to help secure the long term survival of our national icon the Koala. Koala populations in NSW need our help In the 20 years between 1990 and 2010 Koala numbers plummeted by a third. That is only three koala generations. We must take action now, not wait for numbers to dwindle further. The Great Koala National Park will protect our national icon. Why we need the Great Koala National Park The koala is a globally recognised symbol of Australia and the second most recognised animal in the world after the Giant Panda, yet populations of our national icon are declining rapidly. Currently most koalas in NSW live outside of protected areas. In fact, because our National Park network is biased towards higher, more infertile country, it doesn’t capture well the habitat that koalas prefer – fertile, coastal forests that produce more nutritious leaves. Currently there is no national conservation reserve set aside to ensure the long-term survival of koalas. By contrast, China has established a national park covering one million hectares of bamboo forest to protect their pandas. The panda reserves are now World Heritage and the jewel in the crown of China’s tourism industry. The Great Koala National Park Plan Large and well-managed protected areas remain the single most effective tool to protect biodiversity around the world, and Australia is no different. The Great Koala National Park, which is designed as the key component of a larger strategic koala reserve network for the north coast, is the best chance for koalas to have a secure future in NSW. The new National Park will encompass 315,000 ha of public land in the Coffs Harbour region. This biodiversity hotspot includes two nationally recognised koala meta-populations, estimated to contain almost 20% (about 4,500) of NSW’s remaining wild koalas. The Great Koala National Park is comprised of 175,000 ha of state forests added to 140,000 ha of existing protected areas. Because it’s all public land, it’s a cost-effective reserve option. Click here to view a map of the region. Importantly, this koala population is one of the more stable in NSW. This is most likely due to Bongil Bongil National Park acting as a source area of animals which has – so far – offset losses of koalas from land clearing and logging. Because the population has not yet dramatically declined like many others in NSW, the Great Koala National Park has an outstanding chance of making a real difference to koalas. But we must act now while there’s still a chance! Scientists tell us that as the climate changes koala feed trees and populations will move east as inland NSW becomes too hot. So protecting habitat on the eastern seaboard is a vital strategy to help koalas cope with climate change. The Great Koala National Park would both protect coastal forests on the east coast and restore a link between coastal forests and the escarpment to allow koalas to move in response to extreme weather events and climate change. Benefits to other threatened species It’s not just koalas that will benefit from the Great Koala National Park! This spectacular landscape hosts lush World Heritage Gondwana Rainforests, some of the world’s most diverse towering Eucalypt forests – which the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) has assessed as having World Heritage values – and an array of threatened species including the Hastings River Mouse, Spotted-tailed Quoll, Powerful Owl, Sooty Owl, Greater Glider and Yellow-bellied Glider. Like koalas, these species rely on large, well-connected forested landscapes to survive and are threatened by industrial logging and land clearing. Benefits to the Community To ensure that the Great Koala National Park delivers the best possible outcomes for regional employment and visitor opportunities, the NPA and the Bellingen Environment Centre has commissioned the design of a koala visitor centre as a flagship gateway to the Great Koala National Park. We know that nature is the number one reason why people want to visit Australia, and the koala is our most celebrated species. But despite koalas having contributed billions of dollars to Australia’s economy through tourism, little of this money has been directed back into koala conservation. We are at serious risk of killing our golden goose through inaction and complacency. Every time you refuse a bag. Paddy Pallin will donate 20cents to the National Parks Association of NSW to help with the Great Koala National Park. You can also donate to this project through the Paddy Pallin Foundation. Thank you for joining your peers in conserving Australia’s incredibly diverse natural ecology. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.