NSW just landed a shiny new national park, and it’s all about protecting our fav furry friend, the koala.
Guula Ngurra National Park officially opened its gates this weekend in the NSW Southern Highlands, with hopes the new park will be a haven for koalas in the area.
Protecting Koalas For The Future
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was at the opening and said there’d been two koala sightings within the area of the park, but this was obviously not enough.
‘We want to ensure that successive generations of people in our state don’t have to worry about koala extinction but more so increasing the koala population,’ she said.
A plan for the park has been in the works for over a year, as Tugalong Station, the property that makes up the majority of the park (2,148 hectares), was purchased back in February 2019, around the same time the Great Koala National Park was opened in northern NSW.
The name of the park, ‘Guula Ngurra’ was recommended by the Traditional Owners, the Gundangara people, and means ‘koala country’. How fitting!
The 3,358 hectare park is near the village of Canyonleigh, around 25km north-west of Bowral, and features 15km of river frontage along the Wingecarribee River gorge and Wollondilly River.
The park is home to 139 species, 20 of which are endangered, such as the squirrel glider and glossy black cockatoo. Guula Ngurra National Park also has strong Indigenous ties, with links to the Dreamtime Story.
NSW Government ‘Koala Strategy’
Guula Ngurra National Park is just a first step in the NSW government’s $4.4 million koala strategy plan, which includes creating 24,000 hectares of parks and reserves to protect koala habitat, creating a network of koala hospitals and research to help prevent the spread of chlamydia between koalas.
There are also plans to create a statewide koala habitat database, relocate koalas to less inhabited areas and to increase wildlife training for vets.
We reckon this rocks! But the logging of forests across NSW is still ongoing, especially in the state’s north, even after the summer’s bushfires burnt around 5 million hectares across NSW alone and pushed the koala population to the brink. So the Nature Conservation Council is calling for a moratorium on logging, which we reckon is a pretty good call.
Feature photo by @henry_brydon