Wingecarribee Shire Council is urging the support of our State and Federal leaders to install wildlife fencing to reduce the amount of koalas struck by vehicles.
Letters have been sent to State and Federal Members representing our Shire seeking support to fence two known koala hot-spots adjacent to the Hume Highway near Alpine.
The call comes following the most recent incident this week which saw a car collide with a koala attempting to cross the busy motorway.
“Sadly this brings the number of koala deaths as a result of car strike to at least 15 since August across the Wingecarribee and Wollondilly Shires,” said Council’s Environmental Projects Officer Joe Stammers.
A further 12 injuries or deaths have been reported in the Shire’s north near the base of Catherine Hill since 2010.
Recent research undertaken by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage estimates that the Southern Highlands is home to up to 3000 koalas.
“This means our Shire has the largest koala population in southern NSW,” Mr Stammers said. “That’s equivalent to approximately 10 per cent of the total number of koalas left in the State.”
“We believe that continued strikes by cars may have a very real and detrimental impact on our local koala population which is already classified as threatened at both State and National levels.”
The call for the protective fencing comes after discussion with staff from the Roads and Maritime Services and neighbouring Wollondilly Shire Council.
“We know that the koala colony is located in our Shire’s north bordering Wollondilly Shire Council,” Mr Stammers added. “Unfortunately they themselves have recorded similar incidents of koala strikes around Picton and Appin Roads.”
“We believe the best course of action to protect our koalas is to take a joint plea to our local Members asking for assistance to erect safety fencing, signage or even build an underpass to protect them.
“At the end of the day we all have a shared responsibility to protect this vulnerable and iconic Australian species,” Mr Stammers said.
“In the interim we ask motorists to be extra vigilant when travelling these routes especially around dusk and dawn when the koalas are most active.”
The Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project is funded by Council’s Environment Levy and the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species program.