Koalas are at risk on Gympie region roads.
Koalas are at risk on Gympie region roads. Steve Cselka

OPINION: Sad year for koalas on our roads

LETTER:

IT HAS been a devastating year for koala deaths on our local roads, with another two healthy breeding koalas killed in the past week.

On Christmas Eve a beautiful female koala with a new baby in the pouch, was killed on Groundwater Road, Southside, in the bushland corridor just after the Aspect Estate.

The other was in the Imbil area, a healthy male that passed away in the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.

Thanks in both cases to the people that stopped to help these poor koalas.

Of the 13 confirmed car hits this year, 12 of the 13 died, either immediately or soon after from the injuries. We are saddened that in most cases the person who has hit the koala has not called for assistance or reported it. It is essential that any koala hit by a vehicle gets urgent veterinary attention.

The lack of external signs of injury does not mean the animal is alright, as the mortality rate tells us.

The Imbil koala had broken limbs. Often there are severe internal injuries. Do not let the koala have a slow death by the side of the road. Dead koalas also need to also be reported and attended- to check for a pouch young in females, or if a dependent young nearby.

Importantly we gain important data about the koala, collect DNA, and learn about where koalas are crossing.

We really need community support to reduce the road toll on koalas. PLEASE share this information with your friends and family. It is breeding and dispersal season now so koalas are more active. Every night koalas are crossing our local roads.

When driving from dusk to dawn, slow down and scan the roadsides for emerging wildlife. Passengers can help with 'wildlife watching'. We have found with most koalas killed they were crossing where there were bushland and creek corridors (e.g. around Tinana Creek, Little Widgee Creek etc).

Next time it might be you that will encounter the experience of finding an injured koala. Are you prepared? Do you have rescue numbers in your phone to get assistance quickly?

Put a local number in your phone (ANARRA 54849111) but if you do not have it, remember the very easy 1300 ANIMAL -learn how to dial it. (RSPCA's 1300 ANIMAL is 1300 264 625).

They will connect you to the right local service.

Koalas are on the 'vulnerable' species list for a reason-and they need our help.

We invite you to visit our Facebook page for more information, and photos of some of the koalas. Please contact on Facebook or 54835242 if you have data on other koalas hit on roads this year that we have not yet recorded, or anything you would like to discuss regarding conserving our local koala populations.

Michelle Daly,

Koala Action Group Gympie Region

Gympie Times


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