Ambitious project plans to expand koala corridors

An ambitious new project aims to connect Sydney's koalas and save the beloved marsupials from further endangerment.

The 'Rewilding Sydney's Koala' project, proposed by the Country Women's Association's Picton and Illawarra branches with the aim of joining the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy reforestation strategy, would see a linked koala corridor from the Royal National Park down to Bargo, taking in much of Macarthur and Liverpool's Georges River area.

The project has been endorsed by National Parks Association of NSW, Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander, Georges River Environmental Association, Greater Sydney Landcare Network and the Sutherland Shire Environment Centre.

"We believe the Rewilding Sydney Project can make a valuable contribution," NSW NPA president Grahame Douglas said in a letter supporting the project.

"The project identifies key locations for connectivity improvements, such as corridor acquisition, habitat planting and underpasses/overpasses.

"If brought to fruition, the project would greatly contribute to habitat connectivity from the Illawarra Coast to the Southern Blue Mountains.

"A further benefit would be added resilience to the landscape in the context of climate change and potentially increased incidence of mega fires."

The project aims to provide safe movement for our existing koala colonies and eliminating road kill hotspots.

It intends to link existing national parks, Water NSW sites, Army reserves and Crown reserves to form the wildlife corridor through south and south-west Sydney.

"The entire koala populations of koalas of Australia are in a fragile state made worse by recent bushfires and climate change," the project document notes.

"It is widely believed that the ability for them to move freely over the landscape between areas of suitable habitat will help the populations survive and be able to disperse back into the areas they once held.

"The project covers an area from the coast to the Blue Mountains and if movement corridors can be established with the necessary facilities to support that movement, it will not only protect the future of all native animals, it will also be a powerful statement that the people of NSW care deeply about their wildlife whilst heightening their knowledge and the tourist potential of their state."

Rewilding Sydney wants to see wildlife overpasses installed on Appin Road to prevent koala deaths on the road, something which has been called for by various levels of government and community organisations for years.

They also propose to repurpose the existing Cawley's Road Bridge in Helensburgh as a mixed use wildlife and emergency services bridge.

The project team intends to have further meetings with conservation groups and government after pandemic restrictions are eased.

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