Lifestyle community working to improve wildlife protection

One of our beautiful Port Stephens koalas seen in the wild at Mambo Wanda Wetlands. Photo: Marian Sampson.

A PORT STEPHENS over 55s lifestyle village has implemented a raft of changes in the past year to increase protection of local wildlife.

“Upon consultation with the Port Stephens Koala Hospital, we’ve included the addition of an extra 80 mature koala feed trees and ditched plans for a proposed tennis court near the (wildlife) corridor,” Ingenia Lifestyle’s NSW Development Manager Max Camden said.

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“Our experience working closely with the Council and the Koala Koalition have helped us understand how to design communities like Natura to make them more habitat-friendly for our nationally recognised icons, as well as bring us closer to the local community by working to understand their needs,” he said.

The village is also entirely pet free to reduce risks to native wildlife from cats and dogs.

Being pet free allows native animals to establish themselves and residents to enjoy the anticipated increase in wildlife in the area due to reduced threats and increased endemic tree plantings.

“While we certainly understand that many residents want to bring along their pets, our Natura location means we have a responsibility to the local wildlife and a duty to protect them where possible,” Max said.

“We’re well into the warmer months of the year now and can expect to see more koalas out and about as they look for a mate or seek to establish new territory.

“As a result, koalas will be spending more time on the ground and will be at a greater risk of dog attacks.

“The community is also surrounded by a private lake and a range of beautiful native trees, home to a number of local birds.

“It’s important that we preserve this habitat and protect it from curious pets,” Mr Camden said.

Residents at Ingenia are hopeful that love is in the air this koala breeding season and the community will soon welcome some new furry mascots.

Ingenia Lifestyle Community Manager Debra Howard said there have been some rumoured sightings, with residents keeping a keen eye on the trees.

“I’ve certainly heard some whisperings that there have been some sightings of a koala rustling up in one of the trees!” she said.

“We haven’t had any official proof of this, but residents are closely watching now to try and catch a glimpse of Natura’s very own resident mascot.

“As well as a gorgeous lake, the community offers a unique sensory garden experience for our residents, following the koala corridor.

“Along the pathway, residents and their guests are able to scan a QR code to learn more about the native trees and plants surrounding them.

“It’s a fun and educational activity, one that would be great for grandparents and grandkids to experience together.

“I’m sure the grandkids will all be on the lookout for some cuddly koalas this summer holidays,” she said.

Members of the broader public can play a part in keeping the koala population safe this breeding season (now until February 2024) by following some simple steps, including:

• Driving carefully, especially between dusk and dawn when koalas are most active, and whenever you see a koala warning or advisory signs

• Keeping your dog inside or contained at night

• Training your dog in wildlife avoidance

• Creating koala-friendly fencing and swimming pools to give koalas an escape route

• Reporting all sick or injured koalas to the Port Stephens Koala Hospital on 1800 775 625 or WIRES on 1300 094 737.


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