Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project

An intensive study is underway to build information on the Southern Highlands koala population.

The iconic koala is facing more threats to its survival than ever before. In many locations around NSW, koalas are well studied and the threats are known. The koala population of the Southern Highlands is particularly under-studied.

In late 2013, a large fire occurred from Balmoral to Yerrinbool and into the Upper Nepean State Conservation Area. In an effort to move away from the fire, several koalas were hit by cars and killed on a section of the Hume Highway. This highlighted the need to know more about the koalas in the Southern Highlands.

The Office of Environment and Heritage, Wingecarribee Shire Council, the University of Sydney and the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife are working together to build information on the koala population of the Wingecarribee Shire, including where they are living, animal health, the quality of their habitat, threats and how they are moving about the landscape.

This partnership is strengthened by the Southern Highlands community who are reporting sightings to researchers.


An intensive study is underway to build information on the Southern Highlands koala population.

The iconic koala is facing more threats to its survival than ever before. In many locations around NSW, koalas are well studied and the threats are known. The koala population of the Southern Highlands is particularly under-studied.

In late 2013, a large fire occurred from Balmoral to Yerrinbool and into the Upper Nepean State Conservation Area. In an effort to move away from the fire, several koalas were hit by cars and killed on a section of the Hume Highway. This highlighted the need to know more about the koalas in the Southern Highlands.

The Office of Environment and Heritage, Wingecarribee Shire Council, the University of Sydney and the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife are working together to build information on the koala population of the Wingecarribee Shire, including where they are living, animal health, the quality of their habitat, threats and how they are moving about the landscape.

This partnership is strengthened by the Southern Highlands community who are reporting sightings to researchers.


  • Drone technology trialled

    almost 3 years ago

    Yesterday at the Craigenbrae property at Canyonleigh, koala researchers joined forces with Fujitsu to test drone technology for koala detection. Fujitsu approached the National Parks and Wildlife Foundation with the offer of trialling drone technology for wildlife research, and the Southern Highlands koala project was identified as a possible candidate.

    The drone was fitted with a Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) camera which detects heat sources, namely koalas (and other large mammals), in tree tops. The trial raised more questions than answers, not least because the heat of the day made it difficult to see the heat emitted by a koala on the FLIR screen. Fujistu are keen to take what they learned from the field test and refine their approach. Stay tuned!

    Yesterday at the Craigenbrae property at Canyonleigh, koala researchers joined forces with Fujitsu to test drone technology for koala detection. Fujitsu approached the National Parks and Wildlife Foundation with the offer of trialling drone technology for wildlife research, and the Southern Highlands koala project was identified as a possible candidate.

    The drone was fitted with a Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) camera which detects heat sources, namely koalas (and other large mammals), in tree tops. The trial raised more questions than answers, not least because the heat of the day made it difficult to see the heat emitted by a koala on the FLIR screen. Fujistu are keen to take what they learned from the field test and refine their approach. Stay tuned!

  • Yankee rescued from menacing cows

    almost 3 years ago
    20151106 141618

    Collar number 18 was deployed today on a young female, 2-3 yrs old. The koala was in a cow paddock at Sutton Forest surrounded by curious cattle. Farmers were able to collect the animal and handed it over to Wildlife Rescue South Coast who transferred it to the vets at the Camden Sydney University campus for a check up. It was deemed suitable for a collar and re-released near where it was found. Good news all round!

    Collar number 18 was deployed today on a young female, 2-3 yrs old. The koala was in a cow paddock at Sutton Forest surrounded by curious cattle. Farmers were able to collect the animal and handed it over to Wildlife Rescue South Coast who transferred it to the vets at the Camden Sydney University campus for a check up. It was deemed suitable for a collar and re-released near where it was found. Good news all round!

  • Whiskey and Xena

    almost 3 years ago
    Belanglo koala release cropped

    The team has been out in the Belanglo State Forest this week looking for healthy koalas to catch and collar. They have managed to find two - Whiskey, a six year old male and Xena, a three year old female. These two bring us close to the 20 collars planned to be deployed for the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project. Radio tracking and monitoring of the collared koalas continues, providing us with great information about the way the koalas are moving about.

    The team has been out in the Belanglo State Forest this week looking for healthy koalas to catch and collar. They have managed to find two - Whiskey, a six year old male and Xena, a three year old female. These two bring us close to the 20 collars planned to be deployed for the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project. Radio tracking and monitoring of the collared koalas continues, providing us with great information about the way the koalas are moving about.

  • The life and times of Sierra

    about 3 years ago

    Sierra was caught last week in the Canyonleigh area but had a severe case of chlamidia in the eye. A 5-6 year old male, he was treated with antibiotics by the vet and is now resting with a wildlife carer. If all goes well, he will be released, with collar, on Monday 19 October.

    Sierra was caught last week in the Canyonleigh area but had a severe case of chlamidia in the eye. A 5-6 year old male, he was treated with antibiotics by the vet and is now resting with a wildlife carer. If all goes well, he will be released, with collar, on Monday 19 October.

  • Tango, our newest addition

    about 3 years ago

    Our latest addition to collared koalas has been made in Bangadilly National Park. A healthy male, he was found in this beautiful national park in Canyonleigh. More details and a pic to follow.

    Our latest addition to collared koalas has been made in Bangadilly National Park. A healthy male, he was found in this beautiful national park in Canyonleigh. More details and a pic to follow.

  • This week in koala country

    about 3 years ago
    Papa 061015

    Lachlan and the team will be out in the Canyonleigh and Joadja areas this week, on a mix of public and private lands. Their mission is to collar more koalas in the west of the Wingecarribee Shire. Keen eyed landholders have suggested some of these areas to the team for assessment. Don't forget if you spot a koala please ring the Koala Hotline on 4868 0888 to report your sighting. Also on the agenda this week is radio tracking of the newly collared koalas, Quebec and Romeo.

    Lachlan and the team will be out in the Canyonleigh and Joadja areas this week, on a mix of public and private lands. Their mission is to collar more koalas in the west of the Wingecarribee Shire. Keen eyed landholders have suggested some of these areas to the team for assessment. Don't forget if you spot a koala please ring the Koala Hotline on 4868 0888 to report your sighting. Also on the agenda this week is radio tracking of the newly collared koalas, Quebec and Romeo.

  • A weekend of activity in Canyonleigh

    about 3 years ago
    Dympna and romeo cropped
    Over the weekend, thanks to an eagle-eyed member of the public, two more koalas in Canyonleigh were collared. Local resident Anna spotted a koala on Tugalong Rd on Saturday morning and alerted OEH officer Lachlan who happened to be in the area. Masters student Dympna mobilised from Sydney to pick up the koala catching gear from Coledale. Koala catcher George also happened to be close by and so Quebec was added to the mix of collared koalas. Not long after releasing Quebec, the team spotted another koala (Romeo) and collared him also. This brings the total number of collared koalas...

    Over the weekend, thanks to an eagle-eyed member of the public, two more koalas in Canyonleigh were collared. Local resident Anna spotted a koala on Tugalong Rd on Saturday morning and alerted OEH officer Lachlan who happened to be in the area. Masters student Dympna mobilised from Sydney to pick up the koala catching gear from Coledale. Koala catcher George also happened to be close by and so Quebec was added to the mix of collared koalas. Not long after releasing Quebec, the team spotted another koala (Romeo) and collared him also. This brings the total number of collared koalas to 12. Eight more of the donor collars to go!
  • The project in short

    about 3 years ago
    Image

    Earlier this year the Office of Environment and Heritage employed a wildlife ecologist to undertake a pilot study in the Southern Highlands and to record koala sightings as well as scats (faeces) and scratches on trees. From this study, OEH identified areas to undertake further work including deploying radio tracking collars to monitor koala movements. Initially ten collars were fitted and koalas tracked in real time using GPS technology. Koala movements will be monitored for about six months, after which the collars will be removed if they haven’t already fallen off.

    Earlier this year the Office of Environment and Heritage employed a wildlife ecologist to undertake a pilot study in the Southern Highlands and to record koala sightings as well as scats (faeces) and scratches on trees. From this study, OEH identified areas to undertake further work including deploying radio tracking collars to monitor koala movements. Initially ten collars were fitted and koalas tracked in real time using GPS technology. Koala movements will be monitored for about six months, after which the collars will be removed if they haven’t already fallen off.
  • Researchers in the wild

    about 3 years ago
    Project team

    Researchers from the Office of Environment and Heritage and Sydney University vets have recently been out in the field with our expert koala catcher to deploy ten more radio tracking collars. They are working in the Canyonleigh area as well as Kangaloon/Alpine to locate koalas and coax them to the ground. The vets then undertake health and condition checks and collars are fitted if appropriate. These extra collars have been purchased with the help of the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife and generous Southern Highlands donors.

    Researchers from the Office of Environment and Heritage and Sydney University vets have recently been out in the field with our expert koala catcher to deploy ten more radio tracking collars. They are working in the Canyonleigh area as well as Kangaloon/Alpine to locate koalas and coax them to the ground. The vets then undertake health and condition checks and collars are fitted if appropriate. These extra collars have been purchased with the help of the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife and generous Southern Highlands donors.