Hidden Koala Population Discovered By Two Bushwalkers In NSW

At Heathcote National Park

Article heading image for Hidden Koala Population Discovered By Two Bushwalkers In NSW

Steve Anyon-Smith

It's been revealed that two bushwalkers discovered a hidden koala population south of Sydney, during a lockdown stroll at the Heathcote National Park.

On their trek, they discovered two of the endangered species, before more of the marsupials began to appear in the wild.

The two citizen scientists identified almost 80 of the Australian icons, previously undocumented.

"One day, we went for a bit of a poke around the western part of Heathcote National Park, and we thought maybe there are some koalas around here," citizen scientist Steve Anyon-Smith said.

"We had a look at the very first tree, and there was a koala, and then we thought, wow, maybe there are some more."

Koalas were listed as an endangered species in 2021, after the Koala Foundation estimated a population decline of 41% in the three years prior.

The research has found there may be more species in the wild, cornered in pockets in Australian bushland.


"We've always known there are koalas in this landscape because their favourite food trees are here," one of the bushwalkers explained.

"But you don't just stumble across them. You really have to search for them.

"For something that is bigger than a bread box and sits up in a tree in the middle of the day, it's amazing how easily they can blend into the foliage, and you can just walk straight past them." 

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3 May 2022

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