Wildlife experts warn against introducing koalas to New Zealand

Thousands of Kiwis have signed a petition to bring Australia's bushfire-ravaged koalas to New Zealand - however wildlife experts warn this isn't a good idea.

In the wake of the devastating wildfires scouring the continent, a new change.org petition is calling for us to introduce the marsupial to the 28,500 hectares of eucalyptus planted in the North Island.

"If we don't act now, the extinction of the koala will be the fault of not just Ozzies [Aussies] but also all us Kiwis letting our grandparents build houses in Port McQuarie (sic)," the petition says.

"Come on ANZACs; if we introduce this unique animal in a controlled way, we can pavlova the worlds most beguiling marsupial."

But Biological Heritage national science challenge director Andrea Byrom says while the koalas' suffering is "heartbreaking" to watch, bringing them to New Zealand is not a good idea.

"The way to solve another country's ecological problems is not by being some ark that we randomly bring these species into," she told MagicTalk's Leah Panapa on Monday.

Byrom warns nobody knows what impact these koalas could have on New Zealand if they arrived here.

"In any situation like this where people are thinking about introducing an animal to another country it would just be a no-go," she told Panapa.

"We just don't know what the wider impacts of introducing species like the koala into New Zealand would bring - even if it's into introduced eucalyptus forests. And I'm sure the forestry sector would probably have something to say about it as well."

A spokesperson for Wellington Zoo says it hasn't offered to take any in as it doesn't have enough habitats or eucalyptus to care for any koalas at this time.

"Currently there are no koala in New Zealand, and we are not aware if any of the other zoos are planning any koala habitats," they said

"The biggest barrier for us is that depending on where the koala come from, they eat a different selection of species of eucalyptus. A plantation of a variety of established trees would be required to be able to feed the koalas on a daily basis, and this is not something that Wellington Zoo has."

And a spokesperson for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she is currently focused on firefighters and defence logistics, not bringing in koalas.