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‘The whole place went up’: Fears for koala colonies as NSW fires burn on

Thousands of hectares of prime koala habitat near Port Macquarie has been burnt during this week’s Crestwood-Lake Cathie fire, killing as many as 350 of the marsupials and many other species.

Wildlife researchers visited some of the areas destroyed in the bushfire but only located two live koalas during a survey of about 100 hectares on Thursday.

Port Macquarie residents joined staff from the RFS, the local council and the Koala Hospital to search for injured wildlife after recent fires.

Port Macquarie residents joined staff from the RFS, the local council and the Koala Hospital to search for injured wildlife after recent fires.Credit:Nick Moir

“The whole place went up at once,” Scott Castle said, assistant clinical director at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie. “About two-thirds of the area that was burnt is good quality [koala] habitat.”

Mr Castle took part in the survey with staff from the shire council, the Rural Fire Service and local volunteers. However, parts of the forest are still smouldering limiting the group’s ability to search.

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