Myall Coast koalas are the focus of an ambitious new project to discover how best to care for them to ensure their survival.
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Over the recent long weekend, the Myall Koala and Environment Group funded an exciting pilot survey with some encouraging results.
Nine koalas were found during a survey of 87 sites between Smiths Lake and the Karuah River.
“There was really strong support from the community with fifteen landholders allowing access to their land to look for koalas,” Jill Madden, from Myall Koala and Environment Group, told News Of The Area.
“We had all sorts of people involved, from landholders with small one acre lots, to parcels of four-hundred acres,” Jill said.
With a tiny budget from their annual stalls, raffles and donations the community group paid a koala expert to survey the region and rallied the volunteer support of two professional ecologists and six volunteer field assistants.
The team worked until the early hours of the morning searching two-hectare ‘sites’ for koalas.
The survey teams also found other interesting fauna including feathertail gliders, short-eared possums and greater gliders.
“It was great to see such a diversity of animals despite the drought”, Ecologist, Dr Martin Schulz, said.
All koalas were healthy, with numbers comparable to other parts of NSW where similar surveys have been undertaken.
There were even two koalas spotted in a lover’s tryst in a gum tree on the Old Mining Road.
“This is great news for koalas in this area because we know not only are they moving through, but they are living here and breeding,” George Madani, the koala expert on the survey, said.
“We would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers and landholders who gave up their time to show the surveyors around their properties.”
Jill Madden said, “We hope that this is just the beginning.”
Mat Bell, Ecologist with MidCoast Council said, “Council provided logistic support to the survey and is highly appreciative of the efforts of all involved.”
“We would also love reports of all your koala sightings, especially those outside of the well-known hub at Hawks Nest,” Jill said.
The Koala Hotline is 4997 0878.
By Margie TIERNEY