NATIONAL ICON: Saving our vulnerable wildlife is on the agenda at the Tweed Byron Koala Connections Forum.
NATIONAL ICON: Saving our vulnerable wildlife is on the agenda at the Tweed Byron Koala Connections Forum. Hope Fennell

Koala recovery for Northern NSW starts with conversation

SAVING a national icon will be the main topic of conversation at the Tweed Byron Koala Connections Forum in May.

The free forum, co-ordinated by the Tweed and Byron shire councils through their Koala Connections Program, will be held on Friday, May 6, at the Byron Community Centre in Byron Bay.

Tweed Byron Koala Connections was set up in 2013 to address the threats to coastal koala populations in Tweed and Byron shires.

Since then, 55 hectares of new koala habitat have been created on more than 120 priority sites.

The $3.5 million program will improve this habitat to protect koalas and many other species of endangered fauna and flora through tree planting, weed control, community engagement, pest management and fire management and planning.

Tweed Shire Council's senior program leader (biodiversity), Scott Hetherington, said the conference would provide a unique opportunity to discuss koala recovery ideas with the entire project team, as well as celebrate the tremendous project successes to date.

 "Together with a range of threat management activities to reduce the impacts of cars, fire and dogs, Koala Connections has combined science, strategic thinking, innovation and community engagement to deliver a critical response to koala recovery," he said.

One of the groups involved in Koala Connections, Lismore-based Friends of the Koala, stressed the urgency of habitat retention in its latest annual report.

"Our immediate priority is always on the daily needs of our region's koalas, but working to enhance their habitat is a major long-term priority for us, as without habitat our koalas can't survive," the report said.

Seating at the free Koala Connections forum is limited, so it is best to secure a place by visiting www.eventbrite.com.au/e/tweed-byron-koala-connections-forum-tickets-22428640668.

Lunch will be provided at the forum, at the Byron Community Centre in Jonson Street, Byron Bay, from 8.30am to 4.30pm.


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