Welcome to the second segment in the Saving our Species (SoS) newsletter’s regular series Koala Connections where we will cover the latest on our iconic species, the koala.
Project set to better connect koala habitat in Southern Highlands
Dr Billie Roberts, Senior Project Officer for Threatened Species and Ecosystems, reports.
The Southern Highlands is home to the largest koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) population in southern New South Wales, with over 3000 koalas estimated to reside in the region. However, with land-use rapidly changing from large acreage agriculture to small hobby farms, increasing urbanisation of the area, and a rising road-kill, it is critical to establish a conservation project that will ensure their long-term future in the region.
The Saving our Species Iconic Koala Project aims to secure the most significant koala populations in New South Wales through strategic partnerships. Last month SoS developed a koala conservation project with Wingecarribee Shire Council for the Southern Highlands.
The funding agreement is for $450,000 over three years (2018–19 to 2020–21), delivering koala conservation actions and supporting a koala project officer, employed and co-funded by council. This project will contribute to objectives in the NSW Koala Strategy, including conserving koalas through local actions.
Specifically, the project will secure and better connect koala habitat in the Southern Highlands. The koala project officer will:
- identify opportunities for improving habitat connectivity and condition
- engage landholders
- build and strengthen local partnerships
- secure additional project funding.
The focus will be on the Great Western Wildlife Corridor that links koala populations in the Blue Mountains with those in Morton National Park, and the Bargo Corridor that links the Southern Blue Mountains to the Upper Nepean. Examples of focus areas are Catherine Hill and the Colo Vale-Yerrinbool section of the Bargo Link, and the Penrose area.
If you live in the area, you too can support this work by reporting all sightings, planting koala habitat, keeping your dog secured and slowing down when driving.
More on koalas
Meet Lachlan Willmott, our profiled staffer in this edition, whose main focus is koala actions.
Check out Kurrajong’s Koala Festival.