Koalas back into severely burnt forest

  • YEAR: 2009
  • STATE: New South Wales
  • FOCUS AREAS: Saving Species/SDG 15: Life on Land

The key objective of this project is to map the movement patterns and identify the home ranges of koalas as they recolonise an intensely burnt forest in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

This project was funded through generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.

Project overview

The first step of this project is to dive deep into the data on koalas‘ home ranges and movement patterns in both burnt and unburnt forest areas. By analyzing this data, we’ll be able to gain new insights into how koalas are adapting to their changing environments and identify areas where they might be struggling to survive. The next step is to compare our findings with data from koala populations in other parts of Australia. And finally, research will be put to practical use by developing new strategies for managing koalas in Port Stephens, NSW. 


In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.


The project was completed in 2011.

The project was funded by FNPW in 2009.


National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS) NSW is the lead organisation for this project.

This project was supported through the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage.

Latest News

Thanks to this study, we now know more about the size, shape, and spatial pattern of koala home ranges in the Tomago sandbeds, Port Stephens. The researchers made a discovery that has shed light on just how resilient koalas are. Despite the devastating impact of bushfires, koalas have shown an incredible ability to adapt and survive. In fact, one of the most surprising findings was that a koala could leave its home range after a fire, walk an incredible 20 kilometres over an 8 week period, and then set up a new home in an unburnt bush. 

But despite this incredible resilience, koalas in this area are still facing significant threats. From clearing to dog attacks, these animals are vulnerable and need our help. That’s why the findings from this study have been immediately incorporated into the local koala plan of management, ensuring that these animals are protected and their habitats are preserved for generations to come.

The impact of this research extends far beyond just Port Stephens. By interpreting the scale over which we should be managing koala habitat, particularly in relation to fire, roads, and clearing, we can create a better, safer world for these animals everywhere.

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