Cute Koalas Tracked Using GPS Tracking

4 Jul 2017

Thanks to the Wollondilly Council staff’s efforts, the number of koalas found in the shire has increased.

GPS tracking collars were fitted on eight koalas in Appin (Scottish West Highlands) in mid-April so council staff could track them and determine where they roam and live.

They also want to see where the koalas are crossing roads, since koalas have been killed recently when crossing roads.  Because of the high number of road kill, the councilors want to retro-fit the area so the animals can cross the road safely.

Officers also located a tagged mother koala with her baby, adult male and a juvenile male and female near Appin.

Also tracked was a koala nicknamed “Publican” which was found last year in November crossing the pedestrian crossing outside Appin pub.  Publican is now on the Wilton side after having crossed over Broughton Pass.

Council staff found and gathered up a male and female koala, which were both killed on Picton Road in two isolated accidents.

Damion Stirling, the council’s environment education officer, said they collected data to determine which areas of the road the koalas commonly crossed. According to Stirling, it concerns the councilors that there have already been three koalas killed in the same area on this same road within six months. He also mentioned another male koala being killed last year in November.

They will talk with Roads and Maritime Services once they’ve determined the hotspots and see about having floppy-top fencing installed and funneling the koalas to underpass culverts, Stirling said.

They will track the koalas for six more months, according to Stirling, and if they have a clear idea and map of the habitat of the koalas, they can use the gathered data to plan new developments.

Mr. Stirling said he would have preferred to collar more koalas, however, the allocated grant budget provided by the Office of Environment and Heritage was already spent.

He hopes to be allocated more funding due to the success of the program this year so they can collar more koalas and track them.

He’d like to broaden the program to the shire’s western fringe to track koalas in Werombi, Bargo, Thirlmere Lakes and Orangeville where they’ve already spotted koala sightings.

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