Koalas seen in Mt Kembla for first time in 70 years

By AG Staff Writer 8 November 2016
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Eight koalas have been sighted in Mount Kembla, in the NSW Illawarra region, where they haven’t been seen in more than 70 years.

THERE’S RENEWED HOPE that koalas in the Illawarra region south of Sydney are coming back from the brink, after recent sightings in Mount Kembla for the first time in decades.

Eight koalas were spotted over three nights as part of a new survey of the area, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) announced yesterday.

“These findings come just two months after a lone koala was accidently captured on a motion-sensor camera just west of Mount Kembla, in an area where koalas have not been seen for more than 70 years,” said Kylie Madden, OEH Senior Threatened Species Officer.

koala survey

Eight koalas were spotted last month in a new survey at Mt Kembla – an area where koalas have not been seen for 70 years. (Image: OEH)

“Following this unexpected sighting, OEH started formally surveying Mount Kembla last month,” Kylie said, adding, “Finding eight koalas in such a short period of time is extremely encouraging and as the survey progresses we hope to get a much clearer picture of the size and extent of this koala population.”

The koalas spotted were all adults, and four of the eight were heard ‘bellowing’, which is the noise they make when looking for a female.

“This is an extremely encouraging sign that we may have a breeding population here, something that only a few months ago was not even considered as a possibility,” said Kylie.

“Its early days but the survey results suggest these koalas have recolonised Mount Kembla from a population near East Kangaloon approximately 25km away, or from a colony near Campbelltown. Young koalas are known to walk up to 50km looking for unoccupied territories.”