Oxley Highway Deviation - koala translocation

NSW Roads & Maritime Services
Port Macquarie, NSW.

In a collaborative project involving the NSW Roads & Traffic Authority (now RMS), the Office of Environment & Heritage and the Koala Preservation Society of Australia, we successfully captured and translocated a number of koalas from forest habitat to be cleared for purposes of constructing the Oxley Highway deviation to the west of Port Macquarie.Results of a four year monitoring program have seen no adverse effect on the translocated Koalas and virtually no dispersal from the selected release site. Key elements of this successful project were the reintroduction of animals into unoccupied but otherwise suitable habitat areas (i.e. habitat containing preferred food trees) and the use of a novel soft-release protocol. Overall, the results have significant implications for koala conservation by establishing useful mechanisms by which declining populations can be recoverd through population supplementation/augmentation.