Saturday 19th January 12:00am - 6:00pm
Open Day at Mittagong Pool
Saturday 26th January 9:30am - 3:00pm
Australia Day 2019
The Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project was established in 2014 by Wingecarribee Shire Council in partnership with the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage to take what was perhaps the least understood koala colony in NSW at the time, and make it amongst the best understood koala colonies in the country.
Since 2014, the project team has undertaken hundreds of spotlight surveys and habitat assessments throughout the Shire, with official estimates now putting the koala population at over 3,000 individuals, making it the largest koala population in southern NSW and representing around 10% of the total koala population in the State.
In 2018, the project team received a further $450,000 over three years from the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species program, allowing us to continue our valuable work delivering local koala conservation actions, including:
The Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project was initiated following a major bush fire in October 2013 that burnt over 15,000 hectares of bushland to the north of the Shire. Within days of the fire, Council began receiving reports of koalas appearing in backyards and being struck by vehicles on the Hume Highway. These reports surprised many local residents, including long-serving Council staff, many of whom were unaware of the local presence of koalas.
Recognising there was very limited available information about the Shire's koala population, Council approached the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage's (OEH) Threatened Species team seeking expert advice on how Council might help manage its koalas. It soon became clear that not only was the Southern Highlands home to a significant koala population, but this population had also been largely overlooked in terms of research and conservation efforts.
Following an initial 5-day survey and pilot study funded by Council's Environment Levy, the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project was formally established with the overarching goals of providing a clear direction for the long-term conservation of koalas in the Southern Highlands and making this the best understood koala colony in NSW.
Since the project was established, the project team has undertaken spotlight surveys and habitat assessments at hundreds of sites throughout the Shire, actively engaging the local community, and forming valuable partnerships with a range of research and conservation organisations.
The project team was also been able to monitor the movements of 20 koalas over the course of six months using GPS-tracking technology, much of this funded privately with the support of the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife.
In March 2017, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage confirmed that, based on the data collected by the project, it was estimated that over 3,000 koalas reside in the Southern Highlands, making it the largest koala population in southern NSW and representing around 10% of the total koala population in the State.
Later that year, we were awarded an 'Excellence in the Environment Award' by Local Government NSW in the category of Natural Environment Protection & Enhancement: On-Ground Work
WSC Koala hotline brochure (PDF, 300kB)
Learn more about koalas (NSW Office of Environment & Heritage)
If the koala appears injured call Wildlife Rescue South Coast 0418 427 214 or WIRES 4862 1788.
For further information about this project Conservation Project, please contact Council on 4868 0888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org