Illawarra residents urged to join Koala Count

A koala mother and baby at Symbio Wildlife Park in 2009. The search is on for Illawarra koalas living in the wild. Picture: ADAM McLEAN
A koala mother and baby at Symbio Wildlife Park in 2009. The search is on for Illawarra koalas living in the wild. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

WOLLONGONG ADVERTISER

They are elusive creatures but the hunt is on to find koalas living in the Illawarra and you can do your bit to help.

The National Parks Association is holding the national 2014 Koala Count from November 7-17, with the aim of creating a comprehensive picture of koala numbers and locations across Australia by involving residents directly in this annual survey.

Local NPA member Jodie McGill, whose documentary In Search of the Illawarra Koala debuted at Viva la Gong last Saturday, said there had been a few recent sightings of koalas in the region.

"There was one on the Hume Highway about a month ago where a dead koala was spotted about 300 metres south of the Picton Road turn-off," Ms McGill said.

"That's just on the other side of Mount Kembla as the crow flies, definitely still in the Illawarra and part of Cordeaux catchment where we're expecting them to be.

"Although it's really sad news, it's really exciting to know that they're there."

Last month two koalas were filmed crossing the Hume Highway near Church Avenue, Colo Vale, in the Southern Highlands.

Ms McGill said bushwalkers in the Illawarra should look high up into the trees that are not too wide.

"Hug a tree and look up for these tiny little grey bottoms."

Any koalas sighted should be reported to the National Parks and Wildlife Service Illawarra office on 4223 3000 or Wollongong council on 4227 7111.

Register for the Koala Count online and download the smartphone app Bio Tag to record koala sightings, or you can add the data online. All information will be added to the Atlas of Living Australia.

Information: www.koalacount.org.au