Campbelltown councillors have ramped up efforts to protect local koalas from becoming roadkill.
The council has installed more than 10 koala crossing signs next to Macarthur roads on the back of campaigning by local wildlife rescuer Ricardo Lonza.
Mr Lonza said there had been an increase in koalas spotted in the Campbelltown area due to ongoing drought conditions.
“In the last day, there have been three or four koalas sightings alone,” he said.
“Drought and bushfires out the back of Campbelltown have led to increased koala movement recently.
“The koalas are coming into our streets because people are watering their gardens and that water is more nutritious than what they are finding in nature.”
Mr Lonza is founder of the Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown Facebook page and has been a Macarthur wildlife advocate for three years.
Earlier this week, The Advertiser reported the drought, among other reasons, had led to an increase in the number of wildlife being killed on Macarthur roads.
He said koalas needed more safety awareness, especially when close to roads.
“Accidents do happen but if you hit a koala, please don’t just leave them behind,” Mr Lonza said.
“In that case, people call Sydney Wildlife Rescue on 9413 4300 or the WIRES Koala Hotline on 0466 318 688 immediately.”
Campbelltown Mayor George Brticevic said Mr Lonza approached him last month about installing koala crossing signs.
“Council staff did a fantastic job to get the signs organised and installed in record time,” he said.
“I applaud people like Ricardo who rescue wildlife and we assist them where we can.”
Mr Brticevic said he was moved by dashcam footage on Facebook which showed a koala walking in front of a Minto Heights koala crossing sign.
In the footage, Cindy Steley-Hinton and her family drove behind the koala and guided it towards nearby trees (see video below).
“That video really touched my heart, especially because they took the care to help move the koala towards safety,” Mr Brticevic said.
“It shows that koalas are crossing the road more. We have at least 10 koala crossing signs up with more to come soon.”
Hansens Road in Minto Heights has been identified as a hot spot for koalas crossing the road.
Resident Dirk Streefkerk moved to Macarthur in 2014 and said he first spotted a koala about three years ago.
“I see at at least one koala every month. Three koalas were on my property in one day,” he said.
“There has been a huge increase in sightings and I see a lot here on Hansens Road.
“There are not big numbers of koalas around so they need to be protected.”
Drivers who hit an animal should call WIRES or Sydney Wildlife Rescue on 1300 094 737 or 9413 4300.