Community walk finds koalas survive in bushfire ravaged Bulga Forest

Evidence: Spotting koala scat on the ground is easier than finding koalas in the trees. Photo: supplied
Evidence: Spotting koala scat on the ground is easier than finding koalas in the trees. Photo: supplied

On Saturday, July 25, several Elands residents took part in a walk through nearby Bulga Forest, an area that was hard hit by the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/2020, to assess fire damage and look for evidence of koala survivors.

"We were overjoyed to find evidence that at least three koalas had survived the bushfires that tore through the Bulga Forest at the end of last year," Elands resident, Bernadette Evans said.

"A few families got together to walk an area proposed for logging. Before the fires it had been mapped by the State government as high quality koala habitat.

"On the walk we were looking for koala scat (poos) as these are easier to find than seeing a koala in a tree. We were delighted to find evidence of three different koalas at separate locations.

"Our inspection showed that the area had been unevenly burnt, with some patches, particularly the more moist areas of rainforest species, not as severely burnt as some of the eucalypt areas. Clearly some of these areas of forest were and continue to be a refuge for surviving koalas," Ms Evans said.

"There were still numerous large old growth trees that have also survived, which was a great relief to see, because so many were destroyed by fire.

An old growth tree that survived the bushfires. Photo: supplied

An old growth tree that survived the bushfires. Photo: supplied

"We're yet to discover if any greater glider or yellow-bellied gliders survived. But there are many records of them in this patch of forest in the past.

"We intend to go back and continue looking to find which animals survived the fires.

"Meanwhile we understand that Forestry Corporation is planning to log the area. This seems inconsistent with the government's stated policy that areas of unburnt forest among the burnt areas would not be logged.

"We will be writing to the government to ask them to keep their word.

"This area should really be added to the adjacent Biriwal-Bulga National Park," Ms Evans said.

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