Tweed residents are being encouraged to play a vital role in monitoring local koala populations following a disturbing report by the World Wildlife Fund that found 71 percent of the NSW North Coast’s koala population had been devastated by 2019/20 bushfires.
Since establishing the Tweed Shire Council online koala sighting portal in 2017, more than 530 sightings by the community have been recorded on the database.
The Council’s senior program leader for biodiversity, Scott Hetherington, said the information supported data from the three- yearly Tweed Coast monitoring program which is used to manage habitat areas and reduce threats.
‘We have been fortunate to have avoided the devastating fires of 2019/20 which decimated habitats elsewhere in NSW,’ Mr Hetherington said.
‘By going online and reporting sightings, it helps us to compile information about populations, where they are and what measures we might need to take to help protect them.
‘The online database is an easy way everyone can be involved and do their bit to help protect these endangered animals.’
Mr Hetherington said while there had been a focus on koalas on the Tweed Coast, recent monitoring had confirmed that the region was fortunate to have good levels of koala activity throughout the shire.
‘Spring is when koalas are on the move and at risk from dogs and cars. They can end up in strange locations,’ he said.
‘It’s also when mums have their joeys with them so it’s important to drive with care, especially in koala zones.’
He said there had been a few ‘surprise spots’ where sightings had been recorded such as around Terranora and Banora Point.
‘Given that these areas are busy urban centres, the current sightings are largely unexpected and we need to make the local community aware of the need to take measures with pets and on the roads to protect them,’ he said.
‘We are lucky to be living in a region where we can live alongside koalas so it’s crucial to do what we can to ensure their survival.’
To report a koala sighting go to www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/koalas
To report a sick or injured koala call Friends of the Koala on 02 6622 1233.