A significant koala hotspot has been identified near Gloucester, thanks to the community taking part in the MidCoast Council's koala mapping exercise over the last year.
The project maps and defines the distribution, population and trends of the species across the council region and is funded by a $33,000 NSW Government grant as part of the Saving Our Species Iconic Koala Project.
"We've received a number of koala spotting reports from an area bounded by Gloucester to Barrington village and west to Copeland Tops," council's senior Ecologist, Mat Bell said.
"We're grateful for the response from Gloucester's landholders and residents and we're hoping they will continue to support the next stage of this project.”
In the next stage, a specific Gloucester koala project will undertake targeted field surveys with community members and a koala expert to better define the extent and abundance of koalas in the area.
"The field surveys will involve looking for koalas and their signs, in the form of characteristic droppings (or scats) across the investigation area. The results will help identify important habitat and movement areas and give us good information on the health and abundance of the local koala population, Mat said.
"We will then use this information to guide strategic planning and other projects to improve habitat, such as revegetating important koala corridors or managing known threats."
In addition to the koala study, the Gloucester Environment Group (GEG) has initiated a habitat improvement project for koalas in the northern Gloucester area, in the vicinity of Bucketts Road and Showground Road.
"We are trialing a koala food tree planting program in an area where there have been koala sightings on a semi-regular basis in the past. We are going to work with landholders by providing koala food trees for planting to enhance habitat and to improve the amenity of the local landscape,” GEG member Dianne Montague said.
Council is supporting the tree planting project by helping with planning and supply of koala food and habitat trees free to the interested landholders.
If you would like to volunteer or if you're a landholder in northern Gloucester and you would like to get involved tree planting project, call Mat Bell on 6591 7243.
The mapping project is still active so if you see a koala anywhere in the region, visit midcoast.nsw.gov.au/koala to report it.