While the conservation of the globally iconic koala almost brought state parliament to a standstill last week, one researcher holds hope the South Coast population will remain stable with greater community support.
With National Parks and Wildlife surveys continuing, long-time threatened species researcher Chris Allen said "heartening" information collected so far, while not completely accurate, shows the animals have survived in areas of forest hit by the summer bushfires.
"They are an iconic animals, so people who don't think about the environment are now concerned," he said from his home in Bega.
Research shows assets, human life and property and koalas can be protected with the same methods.Chris Allen
Mr Allen said while the local koala population of around 50 individuals has remained constant over the last three decades, the threat posed to the animal's future by further fires and climate change remains "significant".
"This population is really important, and it is showing a lot of tenacity to hang in the way it has," he said.
"We are not sure how koalas have survived the drought, but so far evidence shows they are at least holding on."
He said community support for the the protection of the animal and respect for Indigenous knowledge of how to go about it is increasing, and the work of local firefighters helped keep as much as 70 per cent of the forest used by koalas untouched fire.
"Research shows assets, human life and property and koalas can be protected with the same methods," Mr Allen said.
"Often people think there is a clash, but it's not like that down here. We have Indigenous boards of management at Biamanga at the Murrah reserves, who are significant stakeholders.
"There is a strong relationship there, so were'e well placed to work well together.
"With climate change and the European impact, the koala is in big trouble nationally, so even though things look pretty good we are going to have to work together to bring these species back from the brink.
"Climate change is a big issue."
He said the population in the South East of the state is reestablishing itself in low numbers across a "widely scattered" area, which he said is similar to how it was at the time of European colonisation.
"We have profited so much from the land, and as a society we are responsible, and we owe it to koalas to do whatever we can to pull them back from the threat of extinction," Mr Allen said.
He said a koala plants of management plan, with the cooperation of local authorities, is needed.
"The argument has been about the tree species that koalas prefer, and we have a powerful data set from 60,000 trees, which should be used to contribute to decisions about what are important tree species," he said.