Two young koalas have been released back into the wild at a Southern Highlands bushland Reserve.
The two koalas, Kitty and Koko, were found on separate occasions at a notorious koala road kill hotspot on the busy Hume Highway at Alpine.
Koko was rescued after being struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross the Hume; he sustained significant and life-threatening injuries.
As a young dispersing koala, Kitty was found stranded in a residential backyard, surrounded by dogs, and within metres of the deadly Hume hotspot. Had a concerned resident not raised the alarm, Kitty may have been another sad statistic.
The two koalas were rescued and have been in care with local wildlife carer, Penny Walsh.
“It has been a privilege to have had these beautiful and unique Australian animals in my care,” she said. ”Their release today is the culmination of 12 months of intensive rehabilitation.”
“It has been an especially long road for Koko, and saying goodbye to these healthy, fit koalas is a humbling experience,” Ms Walsh added.
“Their release back into the wild, where they belong, is definitely the ultimate reward.”
Kitty and Koko were released into Mount Alexandra Reserve where they will join a male koala, Laurie, who was released into the same area in September.
Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Environmental Projects Officer, Joe Stammers is happy to see the two koalas find a safe, new home.
“We would have liked to have released them back closer to where they were found at Alpine, but unfortunately the Hume Highway is simply too dangerous for them,” explained Mr Stammers.
“Mount Alexandra Reserve has some great koala habitat and experts think this will be the best location for them.”
The release of Kitty and Koko comes on the back of recent calls by Council urging the State Government to investigate options on the Hume Highway at Alpine to reduce the risk of vehicle collisions.
“We are currently in discussions with the RMS to attempt to resolve this issue,” said Mr Stammers.
“Hopefully we can provide the community and our koalas with some good news in the near future.”
The Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project is funded by Council’s Environment Levy and the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species program.