A recent sighting of a Koala in Koala Beach Estate, on the northern New South Wales coast has got us all talking here in the Australian Koala Foundation office. For those of you that don’t know, Koala Beach Estate was established in 1993 when the Australian Koala Foundation and the Ray Group agreed to work together to bridge the gap between conservation and development.
Koala Beach Estate, just north of Pottsville was developed as a Koala-friendly community, where the people make conscious compromises to their lifestyle so that they can co-exist with wild Koalas. Measures such as no dogs, keeping all the Koalas’ food trees and home range trees, educating the residents to understand and respect the Koala needs, and restricting vehicle speeds were put in place to reserve the Koala numbers in that specific area.
The Koala sightings generated excitement amongst the residents of the Koala Beach Estate, and particularly Deborah. When she first visited Koala Beach and the koalas were being radio tracked she fell in love with an old Koala called 501 (that was his collar’s radio frequency) and the Koala sighted today appears to have a spotty chin – 501’s characteristic trademark. Deborah hopes and thinks that this is one of his great grandchildren – probably a granddaughter. Koalas can live out their whole lives in the same habitat and young males can often be killed while looking for mates. “We had started to despair that koalas had left Koala Beach because of surrounding threats, so this has absolutely made my day today,” said Deborah, Australian Koala Foundation CEO.
Unfortunately there are still irregular sightings of Koalas with red eyes, and ones who look to be extremely thin, the community members of Koala Beach Estate contact wildlife carers immediately to come and take the Koala, for it only to be returned to Koala Beach Estate when it was clear of illness and healthy again. This is a necessary step to keep the Koala gene pool adequate for reproducing healthy Joeys.
The Koala Beach Estate should be seen as a role model for all communities that have Koala habitat on their door step. If only all developers took the time to make these concessions so that everyone could enjoy a Koala visiting their home. Take a look at some of the recent Koala sightings below. Nothing else compares when seeing a healthy Koala living happily in its natural habitat.
The original and handsome 501 with his spotty chin.