Conservation organisations WildArk and Aussie Ark, in partnership with Australian ice-cream company Connoisseur and UK ice-cream company NUII, have launched an ambitious project to rewild a population of Koalas on Mongo Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Upper Mongogarie, NSW.
Koalas face numerous threats, including disease, car strikes, and dog attacks, not to mention the 2019/2020 bushfires that decimated millions of hectares of Koala habitat, killing an estimated 61,000 Koalas.
The Koala Rewilding Project is putting Koalas back into the wild by creating a captive Koala breeding program for wild translocation on 1500 hectares, just 30km from the world heritage listed Mallanganee National Park.
“We all want to save Koalas from becoming extinct in the wild, but the battle is being lost. A model of captive to wild is a critical step to replenish wild populations and keep this species in the wild,” says Tim Faulkner, president of Aussie Ark.
Koala enclosures created with the help of Connoisseur and NUII will be used as short-term holding and breeding facilities. From here, the Koalas will be transported to a soft release area within the broader sanctuary. This soft release is critical for the Koalas to establish appropriate wild behaviours and skills before returning to the wild in protected areas.
“Connoisseur is extremely excited to be working with the WildArk team again, especially on this first-of-its-kind project that is so important, not only to us but to all Australians,” said Connoisseur’s Marketing Manager, Eileen Whitta. “Koalas are a national icon so it’s devastating to think they could become extinct. As a brand, we’re passionate about sustainability and sustainable initiatives and are thrilled to be able to help bring this project to life and re-build lost habitats, breed and re-wild as many Koalas as possible.”
The Koala Rewilding Project will also assess, manage and protect the potential wild Koala population currently residing in Mongo Valley by performing baseline population surveys and undertaking broad-scale habitat rehabilitation.
Intensive weed, fire, and feral animal management will ensure koalas have safe and healthy habitat. At the same time, the project aims to contribute 4000 eucalyptus trees to the ongoing tree-planting project on the property.
“Mongo Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is prime Koala habitat, so it has been sad not to see many Koalas in the wild here. We are incredibly excited to be working with Connoisseur and NUII to help protect one of Australia’s most iconic species and ensure future generations see Koalas in the wild,” says Kirstin Scholtz, General Manager of WildArk.
Mongo Valley Wildlife Sanctuary was secured for protection by WildArk, Aussie Ark, Re:wild, and The Australian Reptile Park. It is in one of the most biodiverse regions in Australia, reflected by the diversity of vegetation communities that support a range of mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, and invertebrates. The area includes a range of vegetation types, including dry and subtropical rainforest, wet and dry sclerophyll forest, and isolated heath communities.
The Koala Rewilding Project holds much hope for Koala conservation. You can support koalas by donating today.
WildArk is a global not-for-profit conservation effort that was founded in 2016. Our mission is to promote and support activities that educate, enable, provide resources or inspire humanity to sustainably conserve, protect or restore the environment and the world’s ecosystems, natural resources, wildlife and wild places. The mission is manifested through positive storytelling, scientific research, supporting wildlife conservation and investing in space for the wild. WildArk has deductible gift recipient status (DGR status) and is registered for GST purposes. Learn more at www.wildark.org.
As a not for profit organisation, Aussie Ark raises the necessary funds to continue its
ambitious vision. Investment allows for the construction of captive facilities and predator-proof fencing on semi-wild parcels of land. Aussie Ark is a registered environmental organisation and charitable institution under the Australian Charity and Not-for-Profit Commission. Aussie Ark has deductible gift recipient status (DGR status) and is registered for GST purposes. Learn more at www.aussieark.org.au.