Bushfires which have ravaged much of the Mid Coast have highlighted the plight of koalas on the world stage.
Not only has the area lost large numbers of koala populations during the bushfires, but large areas of habitat has been completely wiped out.
Prior to the fires, more than 90 per cent of koala habitat had already been lost with the remaining 10 per cent being fragmented and vulnerable to intense bushfire.
Fires have an ability to decimate remaining populations within days and it is frightening how little could be left today.
It's commendable that the public is interested in helping those animals that have been hit hardest in rehab. The reality is that's secondary to the issue of protecting what's left. It's already fragmented and it's already reduced.- Tim Faulkner, president and general manager Aussie Ark
In response to the crisis koalas are facing, Aussie Ark, previously known as Devil Ark, in the Barrington Tops is adding the koala to its list of species with the creation of Koala Ark - the world's first and largest wild koala sanctuary.
"The time is right to put it out there," Aussie Ark president and general manager, Tim Faulkner said.
"I say that in the context that we already protect a lot lot of land and we already have a lot of native animals that call us home," Mr Faulkner said.
"As we move from species recovery, which is working with individual species, into habitat recovery, which is a broad landscape management, the koalas will benefit by default, but obviously need a greater protection.
"We're established - we already have runs on the board, we deliver.
"And the koala doesn't need species recovery like we have for the other species at the Ark.
"What it needs is habitat recovery, habitat retention and that's the area of focus for us.
"We didn't just dream up Koala Ark - in our 400 hectare sanctuary we've already got up to 20 koalas in there.
"We've known that since the first day we fenced it.
"And they benefit from fire management, feral pest exclusion and all these things.
"It's commendable that the public is interested in helping those animals that have been hit hardest in rehab.
"The reality is that's secondary to the issue of protecting what's left. It's already fragmented and it's already reduced.
"I think, in a complimentary sense, this is why we waited some time since the fires started (to launch Koala Ark).
"We did not want to detract from putting the fires out and supporting the heroes on the front line.
"But really it's time to think about what remains. And it's a really good opportunity for that."
On Thursday, December 4 an appeal was launched to help create Koala Ark.
The aim is to secure a self-sustaining population of koalas numbering 500 to 1750 and protect their long-term future in a wild environment.
Koala Ark will also be made available through the correct processes for injured and displaced koalas to call home.
The funding goal is $369,000 with a breakdown of what it will be spent on listed on the GoFundMe page.
To donate visit the Saving the Koala gofundme page HERE.
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