Great Lakes Residents Keen To Help Iconic Animals
THEY NEED PROTECTION: A mother and baby visit Kururma Crescent, Hawks Nest. Photo courtesy of I Morphett.
HAWKS Nest and Tea Gardens residents want to assist Great Lakes Council in protecting the habitat of their local koala population according to a recent survey and now they have further opportunities to do that.
The 2013 Who Cares About Our Environment survey results show the Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens community cares about the local koala population and conserving their environment.
The community survey is part of the six-year Endangered Koala Habitat and Corridor Restoration in Hawks Nest project.
The project is being undertaken by the Myall Koala and Environmental Group (MKEG) to improve the quality of key koala habitat in the Hawks Nest area.
Funded by the NSW Environmental Trust with support from council, the project aims to reduce weed density and revegetate an urban koala corridor with feed trees.
Works to be undertaken include coastal revegetation, erosion works and community engagement. Residents are strongly encouraged to report koala sightings on the hotline number: 4997 0878.
If you would like more information concerning the project or would like to volunteer to assist local groups involved in weeding sessions, koala monitoring, tree planting and so on, please contact council on 6591 7222.
The project complements other works undertaken by the Koala Working Group and Great Lakes Council on the Koala Recovery Plan.
The survey aimed to gauge community awareness, attitudes and priorities regarding the local endangered koala population and invasive weeds at the commencement of this six-year project.
Results indicate that the vast majority of respondents value the koala population as critical to the region’s natural features, community identity and as an economic commodity.
“The survey results showed a positive response to the importance of koala conservation in the local area which is extremely pleasing and we are looking forward to working with the local community over the next six years to improve the local habitat for the koala population,” council’s project manager, Isabelle Strachan said.
A total of 200 hundred surveys were hand-distributed to local residents during the survey period in 2013. The response rate was 62 per cent and higher than in previous surveys.
A follow-up survey will be conducted towards the end of the project. The 2013 “Who Cares About Our Environment” Survey Results Report is available for download on Council’s website at www.greatlakes.nsw.gov.au/Environment/Environmental_Projects
Key survey findings show that:
a total of 88 per cent of survey respondents report sighting a koala in the Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens area;
82 per cent of respondents consider the koala population of critical value as a natural feature;
62 per cent of respondents are aware the local koala population was officially listed as endangered;
75 per cent of respondents rate habitat loss as a serious threat;
74 per cent of those surveyed rate controlling domestic free-ranging dogs as the most important action to protect and restore koalas locally;
72 per cent of respondents consider invasive weeds in natural areas a serious local problem;
64 per cent of survey respondents are aware most weeds originate from ornamental private gardens;
* 45% of respondents do not feel confident in identifying Cassia, a common weed in the area.