On 29 July 2019 a young male koala, ‘Tug’, became the first koala to be released into the new Tugalong National Park.
Tug was found sick on the roadside in Canyonleigh suffering from chlamydia, a disease which if left untreated causes blindness and infertility in koalas.
After months of being nursed back to health by volunteer carers from Wildlife Rescue South Coast, Tug is now free of chlamydia.
Tug’s successful rehabilitation and release into the new national park is a joyous example of koala conservation collaboration involving wildlife rehabilitators, councils and land managers.
Tug’s release coincided with efforts by the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project to encourage private landowners to protect koala habitat on their properties in Canyonleigh and surrounding areas.
Tugalong National Park was purchased by the NSW State Government in February 2019 and is an important step in conserving koala habitat. It contains abundant koala food trees and forms a crucial link in the Great Western Wildlife Corridor. This stretch of habitat connects the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area to the Morton National Park in the Southern Highlands.
For more information on how chlamydia affects koalas, visit the University of Sydney Koala Health Hub.