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Development   /  Georgia Wallace-Crabbe

The Koala Corridor

Sydney’s last Koala colony is pushed to the brink by massive development and other human factors. Can it survive?

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Impact areas

ENVIRONMENT

HEALTH & WELLBEING

Crew

  • DIRECTOR Gregory Miller (& Georgia Wallace-Crabbe)

  • PRODUCER Georgia Wallace-Crabbe

Synopsis

DURATION: 56 MINUTES

Koalas are on an extinction trajectory. Is it due to a lack of public concern? A lack of political will?
After the catastrophic fires of 2019/20 summer the Koala has become the poster child for governments claiming environmental credentials, for companies as mascots and for environmental activists.
Sydney has one last koala population, on the South West city fringe between the Nepean and Georges Rivers. Unlike many koala populations, it is chlamydia free and may have a natural resistance to the disease. With this genetic advantage, it could help the wider koala population, so its survival is vital.
The Campbeltown koala population has been growing and looking to expand, but a key koala corridor lies in the path of a multi-million dollar housing development. Lend Lease has approval for Stage One of the Figtree Hill project at Mt Gilead (1700 houses). The company faces mounting criticism for its approach to environmental protection.
The only obstacle between the corporation and its goal is a small band of activists who alert the public to the impact of the land-clearing.
We look at the survey work being done by ecological consultants and the conditions of D.A. approval – does the corporation have a real concern to protect vulnerable ecological communities impacted by the development? We ask is the project sustainable or are NSW environment laws so weak that they can't aid the preservation of an iconic endangered species?

'The Koala Corridor' asks whether the current scale of development is compatible with the fight to Sydney’s last Koala colony, and the NSW Koala population. Wildlife carers rehabilitate injured koalas and researchers tag, release and track them in the wild. We look at biodiversity and environment protection regulations and ask if there are adequate safeguards for such endangered species. Meanwhile Boris and Reuben, koalas found on Appin Rd and released back into the bush, make their way across the urban fringe full of hazards; cars and dogs.

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0.22% funded
  • $150,000.00

    FUNDING GOAL
  • $331.00

    FUNDS RAISED
  • 31st July 2022

    PROJECT ENDS
  • 5

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Donations

Maria Bradley $100.00
K Quach $40.00
Sue Gay $50.00
Nicole Ireland $20.00
Atsuko Utsue $121.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Without intervention Koalas are predicted to be extinct in NSW by 2050. After the catastrophic fires of the summer of 2019/20, in which 61,000 Koalas are estimated to have perished; the Koala has become the poster child for governments wanting to prove their environmental credentials, corporations looking for mascots and environmental campaigners concerned about habitat loss.

As South West Sydney Koalas such as Boris and Reuben search for tastier eucalyptus leaf or a female koala on the bush fringes of Appin Road, dodging traffic and dog attacks, researchers track their progress with radio receivers and log the data to understand their movement eastward. Architects and planners discuss how housing development can be more sustainable.

The shy Sydney Koala is now caught in the crossfire, with its survival dependent on politics, developers and public sentiment.

Impact

What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

The Koala has long been on a trajectory to extinction; due largely to lack of public concern and political will. It is estimated 61,000 koalas perished in last year's fires. 0nly 1% native vegetation remains west of the Great Dividing Range, so the East Coast Koalas are in the majority.
We have now the urgent task to save the remaining koalas.
The little know story of South West Sydney's Koalas, a healthy colony which is on the move due to lack of habitat, is brought into the spotlight.

Outcomes

What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Outcomes: more action on Koala protection, change of laws that protect biodiversity, more discussion about protection of endangered species in the general public and media, appropriate legislative responses to the above. Seek to mobilise the younger generation to this cause as they have successfully been mobilised on Climate Change by Adani issue and Greta Thunberg,

Stakeholders

How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

National Parks and Wildlife Service, which is overseeing Science for Wildlife's "S4W Post-rehabilitation koala monitoring project" are partners as we are following a NPWS project and promoting its value and findings. We are consulting with other community level groups ("Save Sydney Koalas, Sutherland Environment Group, Georges River Environment Group, and groups in Campbelltown, Appin and Wilton) and with WIRES re animal rescue, and have a number of higher level environmental consultants (names are confidential at the moment) who are advising us.
We are being guided by scientists and researchers who are deep in the facts of the science and ecologists advising both sides of the debate.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Lobby local government to maintain and develop wildlife corridors on the city fringe. Volunteer for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. Donate to science research projects about the range, diversity and behaviour of local Koala population in their area. Talk to their local school, church group, environmental action group. Join WIRES or a wildlife rescue group. Send their children to study science or environmental studies.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Hard to define- increased mainstream media coverage of the issue of habitat protection as a factor in mitigating the effects of climate change. More sophisticated understanding of the status of endangered native animals in the fact of increasingly severe heat and drought and the importance of trees in the environment for the comfort of humans and animals. Number of impact screenings, take up by schools, educational institutions and general viewer numbers on multiple platforms. Raise this issue to the attention of more Global NGOs and agencies (already on WWF radar).

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