Koala Retires to the Grange at Tea Gardens

The sign is back.
The sign is back.

 

FOR many years, the vast majority of koala sightings reported on our Hotline answering machine (4997 0878) have been in Hawks Nest.

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In fact, the last confirmed sighting in Tea Gardens was in June 2014 near the Craft Centre.

So it was quite a surprise to receive a call late one afternoon recently about a koala scratching at someone’s front door in Willow Circuit in The Grange retirement village.

By the time we got there, he had had many photos taken and decamped up a deciduous tree as you can see in the photo – not much food up there.

The residents were concerned about what should be done about the big healthy boy.

Firstly, we warned that nobody should attempt to pick him up because they have very long sharp claws and need to be handled in a very particular way to avoid injury.

Next we assessed whether we should intervene.

He appeared to be healthy, was able to climb trees and was quite active.

We decided not to create stress by capturing him and to leave him to find his own way out of the village, particularly as we didn’t know where he had actually come from.

We left our phone number in case of any concerns but didn’t hear any more, so the strategy obviously worked.

This year, koalas may be reacting to the recent long spell of warmer than normal weather during July and August. The males appear to be thinking that spring has arrived and are out looking for a mate. While at the Grange we rang Port Stephens Koalas, our sick and injured koala support group, to confirm our decision not to do anything about our Grange retiree.

They advised they are receiving an unusually large number of calls about active koalas, including a recent spike in car hits on the roads.

Sadly, in late July, we received a call about a male koala killed on the Pacific Highway at the Tea Gardens turnoff.

In late March the radar-activated speed sign asking motorists to “Slow Down” when the 50 kph speed limit is exceeded, stopped working.

After many failed attempts to get it working again, including replacing the rechargeable battery inside, the sign maker finally took it away to their factory in Newcastle for repair.

In early August the sign came home, apparently with a brand new motherboard.

As is usual, there have not been many koala sightings over winter (in fact six) but the numbers are picking up a little in August.

We ask the community to report their sighting to us every time you see a koala anywhere in the Myall Coast area. Just phone our koala sightings Hotline answering machine on 4997 0878.

Gail & Ian Morphett (4997 1550), Myall Koala & Environment Group.

 

By Gail & Ian Morphett

 

Koala retires to the Grange.
Koala retires to the Grange.

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