Eucalyptus leaves from along the Westlink M7 bushland corridor have been salvaged to answer a distress call  from local koalas at Featherdale Wildlife Park inWestern Sydney.

Transurban NSW Head of Assets Domenico De Conti said this inspiring teamwork will help Australia's iconic marsupial just at the right time.

"The idea came to life last week after the Westlink M7 team, who were out trimming eucalyptus trees as part of essential bushfire safety work, received a call for help from Featherdale asking if any leaves were going spare," Mr De Conti said.

"Around 150 branches, around one metre long, were transferred to Featherdale on Wednesday 25 August 2021, to feed the koalas in the park. A massive thanks to the Westlink M7 team, Lendlease and its contractor TreeServe and everyone involved who worked together to deliver this creative solution.

"During lockdown, it's still essential that bushfire mitigation work like this is carried out to keep communities safe with summer approaching. Thankfully, it's meant we can help our furry friends at Featherdale too, while limiting the amount of movement required across Western Sydney."

Tamara Welsford, Lead Koala Keeper at Featherdale Wildlife Park, said they have 40 koalas with more koala joeys in the pouch which will emerge in the coming months.

"In the past few months, collecting branches for our koalas has become more difficult for a number of reasons, such as slower growth of eucalyptus in winter. And due to lockdown restrictions, it is more difficult for our Keepers to travel in search of good leaf for our koalas, " Ms Welsford said.

"We also rely on local tree lopping services who contact us when they are taking down branches suitable for our koalas. But with restrictions on essential work, there are less of these calls than usual.

"The eucalyptus we collect for our koalas is actually used in the park over and over again. Once the koalas have stripped the branches of the yummiest leaves, the branches are used as enrichment for our birds and other mammals. After that the branches are mulched up and this mulch is used for our ground-dwelling animals to burrow into and nest in. Absolutely nothing goes to waste.

"We are excited to develop a relationship with the Westlink M7 team to ensure the trees they have to clear for essential bushfire safety work, go towards a great cause."

Tamara Welsford from Featherdale Wildlife parkTamara Welsford from Featherdale Wildlife park Tamara Welsford from Featherdale Wildlife parkTamara Welsford from Featherdale Wildlife park

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Tim Sowden | Transurban | 0448 357 533