First koala spotted at Jenolan Caves in 48 years

A koala has been spotted in the Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve in the Blue Mountains for the first time in 48 years, NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman said today.

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

A remote-sensor camera used to monitor endangered Brush-Tailed Rock Wallabies snapped the koala twice in the last few weeks.

“The camera captured the koala in both instances in almost the same place, as he repeatedly walked through the gate to enter and leave a fenced yard,” Mr Speakman said.

The NSW Government’s five year, $100 million Saving our Species program is funding ongoing work in the area to protect endangered Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies but, as is often the case, the conservation work has also benefited other species.

“Dog attacks are a serious threat to koalas and they are extremely vulnerable when travelling on the ground between trees, so our ongoing and intensive fox and wild dog control in the area is obviously helping protect Koalas,” Mr Speakman said.

Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Senior Threatened Species Officer Michaela Jones said she was amazed to see him repeatedly walk through a gate to enter and leave a fenced yard.

“He’s obviously pretty clever and sees the gate as the easiest way in and out of where he wants to go,” Ms Jones said.

“He also looks incredibly healthy – quite chubby – so he is obviously doing pretty well living in the area”

The NSW Government recently announced it would embark on a whole-of-government koala strategy to secure NSW koala populations and spend $10 million to acquire vital koala habitat.

A three-month consultation program will be undertaken to help shape the strategy. The consultation will include regional community information sessions, stakeholder meetings and webinars. To comment on the strategy’s direction visit Developing a NSW Koala Strategy.