Media Release 27.06.2018

New community partnership to protect koalas

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Newcastle Airport and Port Stephens Koalas are partnering to help to reduce koala motor vehicle injuries and fatalities in the Port Stephens region.

The new partnership has enabled Port Stephens Koalas to purchase a mobile roadside warning sign, which they will use in areas known to have large, active koala populations around Williamtown, Tilligerry Peninsula and Nelson Bay.

The specially manufactured warning sign aims to increase motorists’ awareness of koala proximity, and encourage them to slow down in these areas.

Port Stephens Koalas Secretary Ron Land welcomed the involvement and generosity of Newcastle Airport. “The mobile sign will undoubtedly save koala lives at a time when numbers of the precious local koala population are in freefall. We are in a desperate struggle to arrest the decline of the local population of koalas and every koala we can save from serious or fatal injury caused by road strike is a god send,” said Ron Land.

Newcastle Airport CEO, Dr Peter Cock, added that the partnership provides support to the local community around the Airport, and helps to protect our precious fauna.

“The dedicated team of volunteers at Port Stephens Koalas works tirelessly to sustain the local koala populations and protect these Australian icons for future generations. I’ve visited their facilities and was very impressed by their professionalism and passion for what they do. We believe it’s important that Newcastle Airport supports local community initiatives and we are proud to partner with Port Stephens Koalas,” said Peter Cock.

The partnership between Newcastle Airport and Port Stephens Koalas follows recent support from the NSW Government and Port Stephens Council towards building a koala sanctuary at One Mile.

“We are very encouraged by Port Stephens Koalas plans to establish a koala tourist education centre. It will provide improved clinical and research facilities to care for injured koalas, and will also help to boost the local tourism industry,” Peter Cock added.

Ron Land stated, “We expect to take into care approximately 50 koalas in 2018. Sadly, we lost 30 koalas on the Tomaree and Tilligerry Peninsulas in 2016/2017. This great kindness from Newcastle Airport will lead to a reduction in these fatalities.”

The Port Stephens Koalas mobile roadside warning sign will be officially unveiled at the aptly named “Koala Park”, 10.00am Thursday 28 June, at Newcastle Airport.

The sign will be operational as of 29 June 2018.

Ends.

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