Sick or injured koalas

Friends of the Koala 24-hour rescue hotline call 02 6622 1233 immediately for advice.

Koala sightings

Friends of the Koala and Tweed Shire Council share all koala sightings so that we can best work together to save koalas.

Report a sighting

The Tweed Coast koala population has declined by approximately 50% per cent in the last decade.

Without action there is a very real risk that koalas could disappear from the Tweed Coast within the next 15 – 20 years. 

Council is involved in a range of koala and koala habitat conservation initiatives.

Through community and stakeholder partnerships, Council is delivering programs to protect koalas and improve their habitat.

The Northern Rivers Regional Koala Strategy

The Northern Rivers Regional Koala Conservation Strategy guides actions and investment on a regional scale. The Regional Strategy fills the gap between the NSW Koala Strategy, LGA Comprehensive Koala Plans of Management (CKPoM), and local site-specific management plans.

Funding for the development of the Strategy was provided by the NSW Government's Koala Strategy.

View the Regional Koala Conservation Strategy mapping.

Tweed Coast Koala Plan of Management

Koala habitat restoration mapping

Planting and bush regeneration work undertaken to create new and improved habitat for koalas.

View map

The Tweed Coast Koala Plan of Management is being implemented by community, Council and the Tweed Koala Management Committee.

Some of the priority actions currently underway include:

  • Continue to work with landowners to create new koala habitat and improve existing habitat
  • Reassessment of koala activity throughout the Tweed Coast for the Tweed Coast Koala Study 2021
  • Continue planning and implementation of prescribed burns on Council bushland reserves to reduce the hazard of high intensity wildfire and to improve koala habitat
  • Support operation of the Tweed Coast Koala Research Hub
  • Establish new Koala Zones and wildlife protection infrastructure in priority locations
  • Continue to work with regional Council, State Government and community partners to coordinate recovery actions and strategic communications

Tweed Coast Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management

Tweed Shire Council has prepared a Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management(PDF, 5MB) to help the Tweed Coast koala population recover to more sustainable levels over the next two decades.

The plan was adopted as a strategy of Council on 19 February 2015 and approved under State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) on 17 March 2021.

The plan has been prepared in conjunction with the Tweed Coast Koala Advisory Group and is based on the outcomes of the Tweed Coast Koala Habitat Study. The plan aims to ensure a strategic and comprehensive approach to issues including:

  • habitat protection and restoration
  • management of bushfire
  • mitigation of threats from motor vehicles, dogs and disease
  • community education
  • research, monitoring and evaluation
  • resourcing and implementation

To find out what was achieved, see the Tweed Coast Koala Plan of Management reports: 

How do I get involved?

Every koala is precious. There are lots of ways you can help to recover our Tweed Coast koala population.

The survival of koalas now depends on us.

We can all make a difference:

  1. Call Friends of the Koala on 02 6622 1233 if you see a koala
  2. Drive with care at night, especially in koala zones
  3. Keep your dog away from koalas
  4. Plant koala trees on your property or join your local Landcare group
  5. Get involved – join a local group working to help koalas

Local groups to get involved with

The following groups provide opportunities to get involved: 

  • Friends of the Koala
    24 hour koala rescue hotline 02 6622 1233. Koala care, rescue and rehabilitation organisation on the Northern Rivers providing volunteer opportunities, koala conservation advocacy, koala food tree nursery and habitat restoration.
  • Saving our Koalas
    Not-for-profit organisation assisting landholders to plant Koala habitat in the Tweed.
  • Team Koala
    Koala conservation advocacy and education.
  • Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers
    24 hour wildlife rescue hotline 02 6672 4789. Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organisation providing training and volunteer opportunities.
  • Tweed Landcare
    Supports people caring for the environment and natural resources of the Tweed. Provider of information, training, project coordination, advocacy and representation for our members, locality groups, landholders and community.

Mother and baby koala in tree

Koala conservation and landholders

Council can provide assistance and advice to landholders wanting to contribute or get involved in koala conservation.

Depending on the size and location of your property, there are a number of opportunities. Find more information on Council-supported programs at the Private land conservation and Environmental grants pages.

If your property is in a high priority location, Council may be able to assist with site preparation, planting and initial maintenance.

There are many other organisations working to assist with the recovery of koalas on the Tweed Coast. Organised participation is the best way to contribute as an individual to koala conservation.

Koala zone

Koala zones

Koala zones are areas where koalas are known to regularly cross the road to access food and habitat.

Driving with care is required at all times, but especially at night when koalas are most likely to be on the move.

Fire and koalas

Fire is a natural part of the Tweed Coast and plays an important role in maintaining the habitat of koalas and koala food trees.

While large, high intensity canopy fires have the potential to eliminate koalas from extensive tracts of forest, fire is essential for the maintenance of koala habitat. Long-term fire exclusion can lead to irreversible habitat decline and displacement.

Major fire-management issues for Tweed koalas

The major fire-management issues threatening the Tweed Coast koala are: 

  • high intensity bush fires killing individual koalas
  • peat fires that cause widespread collapse of koala habitat
  • fire exclusion resulting in progressive koala habitat decline and displacement

The management of fire as a key element for the recovery of koalas on the Tweed Coast is identified in the Tweed Coast Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management. A number of the key fire related actions of this plan have been addressed through the preparation of the following documents:

View the fact sheet(PDF, 1MB) providing an overview of the approach to managing fire for koalas, life and property on the Tweed Coast as detailed by these plans.

Tweed Shire Council is working with the NSW Rural Fire Service, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Northern Rivers Fire and Biodiversity Consortium, Friends of the Koala and landholders to implement these plans including for the management of Council bushland reserves throughout the Tweed Coast.

Hazard reduction burn for koala habitat
The Hazard Reduction Burn Guidelines for koala habitat on the Tweed Coast assist land managers to undertake hazard reduction burns with minimal impact to koalas and their habitat. Use of these guidelines will ensure the persistence of healthy koala habitat and reduce high intensity wildfires to the benefit of human life, property and koalas.

Koala studies

Tweed Coast Koala Study 2021

The 2021 Tweed Coast Koala Study(PDF, 4MB) was completed between July and December 2021. Council reassesses the distribution and activity of the Tweed Coast koala population every 3 years as part of the Tweed Coast Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management(PDF, 5MB). The 2021 study is the third in this long-term monitoring program since the original Koala Habitat Study(PDF, 7MB) was published in 2011.

Results from this monitoring period confirm that Koala activity remains widespread throughout the study area, with the population fluctuating between survey periods over the last 6 years. Occupancy levels remain extremely low and the Tweed Coast koala population remains at high risk of extinction.

Northern Rivers regional koala surveys

Council collaborated with 5 Northern Rivers councils (Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Kyogle and Richmond Valley), Friends of the Koala, NSW Government and WWF Australia to undertake the first region-wide koala surveys during 2021 and 2022. Biolink Ecological Consultants carried out extensive field survey across more than one million hectares, including private and public land, which has contributed to understanding koala occupancy and distribution across the region. Results of the study have informed the preparation of Regional Koala Conservation Strategy and future monitoring programs.

Northern Rivers Koala Activity Assessment 2021-2022(PDF, 7MB)

Tweed Coast Koala Study 2018

The second reassessment of koala activity across the Tweed Coast has recently been completed. This substantial on-ground survey program is essential to track the status and recovery of the Tweed Coast koala population, and the success of the Tweed Coast Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management (KPoM).

The findings of the Tweed Coast Koala Study 2018(PDF, 3MB) are encouraging, and provide support for ongoing investment in implementation of the KPoM, as it works to support population recovery.

The results suggest that populations may be beginning to expand again into areas that had experienced decline as reported in 2015, most notably around Cudgen Nature Reserve and the Round Mountain area. Koala occupancy and activity levels remain relatively stable in the Pottsville Wetland and Black Rocks areas.

A summary of the study(PDF, 2MB) was presented to Council in March 2019.

Tweed Coast Koala Study 2015

One of the priority actions of the Tweed Coast Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management is the reassessment of the status of the Tweed Coast koala population, as it is now five years since survey work for the Tweed Coast Koala Habitat Study was done in 2010. The Tweed Coast Koala Study 2015(PDF, 6MB) was completed in December 2015 and describes the methods, results and implications of the most recent survey.

See the Koala Study 2015 FAQ(PDF, 445KB) for a summary of the study.

Tweed Coast Koala Habitat Study 2011

Tweed Coast Koala Habitat Study 2011(PDF, 7MB)

A detailed koala habitat study was undertaken for the coastal portion of the Tweed local government area in 2011. An area of approximately 21,200 ha, comprising lands surrounding Terranora and Cobaki Broadwaters in the north and extending approximately 35 km south, generally between the coast and the Pacific Highway was surveyed.

The study documented extensive habitat fragmentation to the degree that the remaining viable koala population is now restricted to a small area between Bogangar and Pottsville. Critical koala recovery actions are identified including in relation to fire management, the impact of vehicles and habitat restoration.

Investing in the future of Pottsville's koalas

The Pottsville Wetland is one of the Tweed Coast’s treasures. At just under 300 hectares, this important Council bushland reserve sits to the west of Pottsville Waters and Black Rocks residential estates and acts like a giant sponge for both Cudgera and Mooball Creeks.

It also provides essential koala habitat, critical for the future survival of the Endangered Tweed Coast koala population.

Watch this video to find out how the community and Council have worked together to restore and conserve this special place and its unique biodiversity.

Tweed Byron Koala Connections

Tweed and Byron Shire Council collaborated to deliver the Tweed Byron Koala Connections project. The project was supported by funding from the Australian Government.

Tweed Byron Koala Connections

Koala in treeThe 4 year project was completed in June 2016 and resulted in: 

  • Planting more than 73,000 trees on over 120 sites
  • Creation of 55 hectares of new koala habitat and improvement of another 150 hectares of habitat
  • Koalas including breeding females using planted trees at many sites
  • Monitoring and evaluation of project sites continues to demonstrate excellent planting establishment rates of consistently greater than 90%
  • More than 800 people attended training, working bees and other events
  • Vertebrate pest management monitoring and control over nearly 4000 hectares
  • Relevant agencies and land managers have access to new resources to improve fire management to benefit the protection of koalas, their habitat and human life and property
  • Corridor linkages have been established between properties, which together with areas of clustered project sites, create landscape scale improvement for koala habitat and connectivity
  • Actions taken to reduce threats to koalas from vehicles have resulted in innovative techniques that have proven successful and are being adapted for use in other locations
  • The Tweed Byron Koala Connections Forum was a highly successful strategy to communicate the outcomes of the project to a broad audience including sharing lessons learned to the benefit of environmental works throughout koala habitat areas
  • Proven success of chemical free techniques for large scale revegetation projects at two sites

Green Globe winner 2014

Banksia Sustainability Awards 2015

World Environment Day Awards finalist 2015

One of the key elements of the success of the project was the active involvement of partner organisations including Friends of the Koala, Brunswick Valley Landcare, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Team Koala, Tweed Landcare and Local Land Services.

Together with the dedicated and inspiring commitment from landholders, local contractors and volunteers – the project demonstrated what can be achieved through a whole of community effort.

Read the successful Tweed Byron Koala Connections Banksia Awards nomination(PDF, 4MB)

Koala Connections Forum 2016

Koala Connections Forum Program(PDF, 350KB)

The Tweed Byron Koala Connections project team held a highly successful forum in May 2016 to share our stories and lessons from implementing the Koala Connections project. More than 80 people attended the forum held at the Byron Community Centre and shared information about koala habitat restoration and reducing the threat to koalas from cars, fire and dogs.

YouTube video links to proceedings are as follows: