Koala habitat at risk if Glossodia development proceeds

A proposal for a caravan park at Glossodia has raised the hackles of locals following sightings of koalas at a nearby property.

East Kurrajong's Christine Tyler, whose property backs on to the proposed Wattle Crescent development, said she had seen koalas on her property and was concerned any land clearing would place the already-vulnerable species further at risk.

Residents gather at Wattle Crescent, Glossodia to object to a development application for a caravan park on the site. Picture: Geoff Jones

Residents gather at Wattle Crescent, Glossodia to object to a development application for a caravan park on the site. Picture: Geoff Jones

"It's been so dry that I've been leaving water out for the koalas," Ms Tyler told the Gazette.

She wrote on Facebook that she was concerned about the number of koalas that had died and been injured by recent bushfires: "The koalas need every fighting chance to survive. Most of their homes and food sources have been destroyed."

"I don't want a caravan park on my back doorstep but I'm more concerned with out beautiful wildlife and want to give them a voice so they have a future," she wrote.

Dr Kellie Leigh from Science for Wildlife - a group that has been researching and lobbying for koalas in the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains - confirmed the proposed caravan site contained prime koala habitat.

She said if koalas had been spotted on Ms Tyler's East Kurrajong block, there's no reason they wouldn't also be on the adjoining Wattle Crescent land.

"Based on our maps the development will impact preferred koala habitats, we know koalas use these vegetation types and they contain food trees that are favourites for koalas," Dr Leigh told the Gazette.

Animals spotted: A koala spotted on an East Kurrajong property that backs on to the site for a proposed caravan park in Glossodia. Picture: Christine Tyler

Animals spotted: A koala spotted on an East Kurrajong property that backs on to the site for a proposed caravan park in Glossodia. Picture: Christine Tyler

"The Hawkesbury has a nationally significant and growing koala population, but habitat fragmentation is already a big issue for them. Every year more koalas are moving into the developed area, particularly into these areas that have the right food trees.

"We should be prioritising reconnecting koala habitats and maintaining the trees that are most important to them. This is even more critical right now with the Gospers Mountain fire burning large tracts of koala habitat inside the National Parks."

The Gospers Mountain fire is burning in the Wollemi and Yengo National Parks, and Parr State Recreation areas.

A Science for Wildlife fundraising page stated there were growing populations of koalas in Wollemi National Park and Kanangra-Boyd National Park: "We have also discovered they are the most genetically diverse koalas in the country and therefore critical for conservation of the species."

Dr Leigh urged locals who spotted koalas around the Hawkesbury to register their sightings on scienceforwildlife.org (click on 'How to Help' and then 'Report a koala sighting').

Suitable habitat: A Science for Wildlife map showing suitable koala habitat on the site for the proposed caravan park at Glossodia. Picture: Science for Wildlife

Suitable habitat: A Science for Wildlife map showing suitable koala habitat on the site for the proposed caravan park at Glossodia. Picture: Science for Wildlife

She also called for locals to donate to the fundraiser to help the group scale-up their efforts and map where koalas are living and which areas they are moving into in response to the fires.