Koala breeding season in Port Macquarie-Hastings runs from September to February. During this time, koalas are more active and visible as they search for mates and build nests.
Koalas are solitary animals, but they come together during breeding season. Males will travel long distances to find mates, and they will often fight with other males for the right to mate. This is a great time to see these iconic animals, especially given our local area hosts one of the largest populations across Eastern Australia. With the population experiencing significant decline over past years, however, it’s also important to be aware of how we can help protect them, as they move about our community more.
What is Council doing to take care of our Koalas?
You may have noticed new green and gold “Koala Zone” road markings around our community. Like the temporary digital VMS boards that have been reminding us each year to slow down and look out for koalas, these permanent road markings have been strategically placed in key koala hotspots. They serve as a visual reminder to motorists that they are entering koala habitat areas and should exercise caution while driving. Accompanying these, NSW Government funded digital signs will also be installed in the near future. These signs will alert drivers if over the speed limit for that section of road.
These driver behavior initiatives are key components of just one of the core actions within Council’s Koala Recovery Strategy – to reduce road strikes. Additional actions within the strategy include commitment to:
- Safeguard the welfare of koalas and reverse the current population decline
- Reduce domestic dog strikes
- Maintain the genetic diversity of koalas in the region
- Assist in managing developments in aspects including design, habitat fragmentation and fire management.
You can learn more about Council’s commitment to koala recovery and conservation in the Koala Conservation Strategy, adopted in 2018.
How can our community help care for koalas?
With numbers continuing to decline, the survival of this iconic species is reliant on collective action. Here are some ways individuals can make a difference:
When out and about on our roads, use the new green and gold ‘Koala Zone’ signs as a helpful reminder that you are entering koala territory, and to drive with care. To help encourage other drivers to do the same, you can make a public pledge via our ConnectEd PMH website to receive your free pledge pack – a bumper sticker, keychain and car air freshener to show your public support for our koalas.
If you live in or near koala habitat areas, you may find a koala journeying over your fence into your backyard, in search of a mate. Depending on your fence style, they may struggle to find their way back over again. This is particularly problematic if you are a dog owner as dogs and koalas don’t mix too well, even with the friendliest of dogs. Where possible and safe to do so, you can place a timber post or branch against metal fencing to give koalas an escape path. It’s also important to check that your fencing is secure, preventing pets from being able to take themselves into habitat beyond your home.
Even if your dog is well behaved, non-aggressive, and friendly, it is still important, in general, to have your dog on leash when out and about in public. Situations can be unpredictable which can inadvertently put you, your dog, and our koalas, at risk of an incident.
Of course, we all know dogs love an opportunity to run free. Visit Council’s website to find out where you can exercise your dog off-leash, and on-leash, and to brush up on owner responsibilities when out with your dog in public. To learn more about taking your dogs out and about, watch our Dogs Out and About series.
Reporting koala sightings is essential to help koalas in the wild. Better information about koalas leads to better koala conservation and better planning decisions. If you catch sight of a koala, you can report the sighting via the NSW Government app, I Spy Koala, or by completing the reporting form found on the Koala Hospital’s website. If you observe an injury or signs of illness, please call the 24 hour Koala Hospital rescue hotline on 02 6584 1522.
You can learn more about the wonderful work Koala Conservation Australia (the Koala Hospital) do to care for our koalas on their website.
By working together, we can help ensure the survival of koalas and the beautiful coastal region we’re lucky enough to share with them.