Kamilaroi Guda Koalas

North West Local Land Services has partnered with the Australian Government to deliver $1 million worth of investment which aims to increase and enhance koala habitat to provide refugia in a changing climate. The project was officially launched in person by Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley with local member for Parkes Mark Coulton in November 2021.

Gunnedah’s koalas have been in serious decline since at least 2008 largely attributed to prolonged heatwaves in summer and drought. It is thought that with stressed and dehydrated animals, this may be influencing the rate of infections of chlamydia and therefore further population declines.

To mitigate these impacts, this project was developed to target an area that will be important for koala populations in a changing climate. The area between Carroll and Gunnedah adjacent to the Namoi River has been identified as the target due to proximity to permanent water and existing remnant native vegetation. By enhancing these areas, this will give the koala population the best chance of survival and recovery. Project activities include:

  • 15 hectares of revegetation to include additional shelter species and diversity of size and age of trees
  • 260 hectares will be treated to reduce priority weeds that impact koala movement
  • Provide permanent and safe water for koala and wildlife drinking
  • Remediating riparian areas for improved habitat and access to river for koalas
  • On ground work will be predominately on crown land such as travelling stock reserves with a smaller amount being on private land.

The project has a significant cultural heritage component which includes the employment of an Aboriginal Community Support Officer, Wally Hammond, who will work closely with the community to increase awareness and engagement in the project and about koalas.

Initial consultation with the local Aboriginal community recognised that the Kamilaroi/Gamilaary word for koala should be used, hence including the word ”guda”. Cultural heritage surveys will be conducted over project sites where there will be any ground disturbance such as tree planting. There will also be opportunities for aboriginal community members to get out on country and assist with fauna surveying with an ecologist. Other cultural activities such as cultural burning will be considered where appropriate.

In addition to the improvement of habitat for koalas, the work on TSRs will maintain and improve the quality and usage of these areas. Again, proving that it is possible for native species to thrive in agricultural landscapes if managed.

All work will be completed by June 2023.

North West Local Land Services in partnership with Phil Spark from North West Ecological Services would like to hear from anyone in the slopes region (Barraba to Wallabadah) who have seen a koala in the past 3 years. There have been reports of koalas seen in the Tamworth, Moore Creek, Moonbi, Dungowan, Woolomin and Wallabadah areas and it is likely that there are more in other areas not yet known.

Since the decline of koalas in Gunnedah, it has become very important to survey the slopes area as little is known about these koala populations, their health status and the type of vegetation being utilised. This information will help direct future investment to protect any populations found.

If you have knowledge about where koalas have been seen, you can email angela.baker@lls.nsw.gov.au with the details. You can also register your recent sightings on the Koala I Spy app.

For more information contact Angela Baker, Senior Land Services Officer, Gunnedah on angela.baker@lls.nsw.gov.au or 0429 368 693 or

Wally Hammond, Aboriginal Community Support Officer, wally.hammond@lls.nsw.gov.au or 0428 432 784

This project is supported by North West Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund.

What has happened to the koalas around Gunnedah?

This film explores what lead to the steep decline in the koala population in the last 15 years and the work of Local Land Services, researchers and community groups who are trying to assist in koala population recovery across the Liverpool Plains.

This film is part of Local Land Services' Kamilaroi Guda Koalas project.

Have you seen a koala lately?

Report any koala sightings to the I Spy Koala App.

I Spy Koala is a citizen science app that allows anyone in NSW to record wild koala sightings. This data is crucial in helping us better understand and protect koalas across NSW.

Other koala resources

Koalas in your backyard

Koalas were uplisted by both the Australian Government and NSW Government to endangered in 2022. Inland NSW koalas are under threat due to chlamydia, heatwaves, drought and habitat fragmentation.

We can all do our bit to look after our koalas. Download a factsheet PDF, 2666.89 KB on how you can look after koalas in your backyard.

Planting native vegetation for koalas

Moree region

There are a number of native vegetation species recognised as important food and shelter trees for koalas in the Moree region. Planting these trees will benefit koalas by providing additional food and shelter.

Download the factsheet Planting Native Vegetation for Koalas in Moree PDF, 3481.81 KB.

Gunnedah region

There are a number of native vegetation species recognised as important food and shelter trees for koalas in the Gunnedah region. Planting these trees will benefit koalas by providing additional food and shelter.

Download the factsheet Planting Native Vegetation for Koalas in Gunnedah PDF, 2566.26 KB.

Providing water for koalas

Koalas normally gain the majority of the water they need from the moisture in the leaves that they eat. However, when weather conditions are hot and dry, such as during heatwaves and droughts, koalas may benefit from supplemented free water.

If you have koalas on your property, these guidelines will help you setup a tree accessible watering station for koalas. A tree watering station is preferred because koalas are arboreal animals (they live in trees) and because it will keep koalas safe from potential ground predators.

Download the Providing water for koalas factsheet. PDF, 9540.46 KB

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