Gloucester protects its koalas

Published on 09 March 2018

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Thanks to a great response from the Gloucester community to MidCoast Council's koala mapping exercise over the last year, a significant koala hotspot has been identified near Gloucester.

The MidCoast Koala Mapping Project maps and defines the distribution, population and trends of the species across the Council region. The project is funded by a $33,000 NSW Government grant as part of the Saving Our Species Iconic Koala Project.

"We've received a number of koala spotting reports from an area bounded by Gloucester to Barrington village and west to Copeland Tops" says Council's Senior Ecologist, Mat Bell.

"We're grateful for the response from Gloucester's landholders and residents and we're hoping they will continue to support the next stage of this project" says Mat.

In the next stage, a specific Gloucester koala project will undertake targeted field surveys with local community members and a koala expert to better define the extent and abundance of koalas in the area. 

"The field surveys will involve looking for koalas and their signs, in the form of characteristic droppings (or scats) across the investigation area.  The results will help identify important habitat and movement areas and give us good information on the health and abundance of the local koala population" says Mat.  "We will then use this information to guide strategic planning and other projects to improve habitat, such as revegetating important koala corridors or managing known threats."

In addition to the koala study, the Gloucester Environment Group has initiated a habitat improvement project for koalas in the North Gloucester area, in the vicinity of Bucketts Road and Showground Road.  "We are trialling a koala food tree planting program in an area where there have been koala sightings on a semi-regular basis in the past. We are going to work with landholders by providing koala food trees for planting to enhance habitat and to improve the amenity of the local landscape" said Dianne Montague of the Gloucester Environment Group.

MidCoast Council is supporting the tree planting project by helping with planning and supply of koala food and habitat trees free to the interested landholders.  "We are very excited about the koala food tree planting program being initiated by the local community and we look forward to helping to support these efforts" said Karen Bettink, Council's Catchment Officer.

If you would like to assist Council by volunteering to assist with the targeted field studies or if you're a landholder in North Gloucester and you would like to get involved with the koala food tree planting project, please call Mat Bell on 6591 7243.

And the MidCoast koala mapping project is still going strong, so if you see a koala anywhere on the MidCoast Council region, please visit midcoast.nsw.gov.au/koala  and report it online via a quick and easy form!

Thanks for doing your bit to protect koalas.