Drivers have been urged to slow down on Wollondilly’s roads and be on the look out for koalas.
Wollondilly Council’s environmental education officer Damion Stirling has made the timely warning to motorists following several accidents last month.
Six koalas were hit and killed on the Hume Highway and Picton Road.
Three were hit near the Bargo exit on the highway, including a mother and her joey, another two were hit near Nepean River bridge and Don (pictured) was hit on Picton Road near Maldon.
“The balmy weather might mean the koalas are on the move earlier this season,” Mr Stirling said.
“In Spring, koalas usually go on the move, especially the males who want to find a new residence and a girlfriend.
“The major hotspots are near Wilton on Picton Road and the Bargo exit on the Hume Highway.”
Mr Stirling has urged locals to “be aware” of koalas crossing the busy roads.
He said if drivers hit or saw an injured koala then they should call the Wildlife Rescue South Coast on 0418 427 214 or WIRES Wollondilly 24/7 on 4684 1656 or 1300 094 737.
“If drivers find a dead koala on the road then they be reported to the Wollondilly Koala Hotline on 4677 1100, the hotline’s Facebook page or to a rescue group,” Mr Stirling said.
“The koala will be picked up and taken to the University of Sydney Koala Health Hub for an autopsy and DNA testing.
“The koala will be checked for diseases and place where it was killed will help us tracked the population of the koalas.
“As sad as it is when a koala is killed, we can still gather information about where the koalas going and have come from.”
Mr Stirling said the council had research to track the koala population in the shire.
“Our research is so critical because we need to know where the koalas are living and the size of the population so we can better preserve their habit and colony,” he said.
Mr Stirling said he had recently met with the Roads and Maritime Service to present information about the koala population hot spots and road deaths.
“Preserving the population is a complex issue that will require funding,” he said.
“We have started the conversation and we are in the information gathering process.
“We can’t fence all of Picton Road or the Hume Highway.
“We may be able to fence some hot spot sections of the road but that is likely still years away.”