Koala activist returns to sign-making venture

Casey Freeman instals her koala signage along Port Stephens Drive.

PORT STEPHENS koala lover Casey Freeman is back installing koala warning signs for motorists along Port Stephens Drive, two years after her initial sign-making endeavour caught attention at the local government level.

In 2022, Ms Freeman began installing colourful signs along Port Stephens Drive, a location where a total of 89 koala fatalities were reported between 2010-2020 and which was identified as a blackspot under the NSW Koala Program.

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“The concerns are that on Port Stephens Drive there are lots of corridors across the roads and our koalas want to get across the road to find their mating partner or other feed trees,” Ms Freeman told News Of The Area.

“There are always koalas getting hit in our town so we need to do what we can to protect them.

“My signs are bright and noticeable which is what is needed in the areas where our koalas need protecting.”

Ms Freeman is calling on Port Stephens Council to get “lots more signs up” in an attempt to save koalas from vehicle strike.

“Soon enough we won’t have our iconic koalas around.”

The long-serving Port Stephens Koala Hospital volunteer believes the community needs to realise how lucky it is to have koalas living locally in the wild.

“What school has koalas in their playground?” she said.

“We have koalas here and it’s not many places that have koalas in their natural environment, they tend to be in zoos where you see them.”

Work has been underway in recent years to improve koala safety on Port Stephens Drive, with the Port Stephens Drive Koala Vehicle Strike Project delivered by Council last year in partnership with the NSW Koala Program.

Designed to reduce the number of koala deaths and injuries in the area, the works involved the installation of 3.7km of koala-proof fencing along both sides of Port Stephens Drive, 850m of retrofitted koala-proof fencing to the existing Horizons Golf Course fence, a 20 m long box culvert fauna underpass, koala grids (similar to cattle grids) across two road intersections, and koala connectivity structures (fence crossing poles and escape structures).

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