IN a first for Port Stephens on road warning signs are being deployed to encourage drivers to slow down in areas where koalas are known to wander onto our roads.
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The signs are the result of a consultative process between Council and Port Stephens Koalas.
Mayor Ryan Palmer promised road signs at a public rally at Mambo Wanda Wetlands early in his term.
Ron Land of Port Stephens Koalas told News Of The Area, “Each of the 20 signs are co-funded by Port Stephens Council and Port Stephens Koalas.”
The on road painted signs sit alongside the mobile trailer with flashing lights funded by Newcastle Airport.
Just as we use lower speeds in high pedestrian areas to minimise the risk of vehicle strike, and the injuries sustained, vehicles travelling at lower speeds in areas frequented by koalas are less likely to strike a koala, and the injuries sustained are likely to be less severe.
“We have been mindful of limiting the traffic delay during installation.”
Awareness is important as the Port Stephens koala population is in crisis.
The planned koala hospital is one step towards the rehabilitation of koalas that are sick or injured, reducing the risk of vehicle strike is another.
“The signs are an investment in the safety of the Port’s koala population and cost $600 each, we are desperately seeking financial support and community support,” he said.
Our koalas are at risk through loss of habitat, from vehicle strikes and dog attacks, both of these are things that we can prevent.
Driving slower in areas populated by koalas is one way, keeping dogs in their yards and on leads is another.
By Marian Sampson