KOALA carers are fearing a horror summer in Port Stephens, with a number of car strikes already recorded in the first few weeks of the breeding season.
Carers have issued a plea for drivers to slow down and watch for wildlife after several "disturbing incidents" left joeys clinging to their injured mothers' backs in the roadway.
Young joey Buster was rescued from his dead mother after she was struck by a car in a 50km/h zone at Salamander Bay early on Sunday.
Hunter Koala Preservation Society president Sue Swain said the discovery of the 900-gram joey was among several "disturbing incidents" over the past month.
Ms Swain said the breeding season between September and March often made koalas more vulnerable because they migrated to mate. She said the period often had a major impact on carers as well.
"Some of the road deaths have micro chips so they are koalas that we have had in care and know," Ms Swain said. "We have also formed an emotional attachment with them so it's almost like a death in the family."
Carer Rebecca Asquith said it was vital that anyone who hit a koala called rescuers. Injured koalas can be reported 24 hours a day on 0418 628 483.