SOUTHSIDE SALLY: The female Koala rescued from the corner of Glastonbury Rd last month.
SOUTHSIDE SALLY: The female Koala rescued from the corner of Glastonbury Rd last month. Contributed

The deadly hotspots for koalas across Gympie

WITH today marking the official start of Save the Koala Month, local conservationists across Gympie are asking the public to remain vigilant on our roads.

It follows a recent spate of roadside koala deaths, including three young males killed on the Mary Valley Hwy since the beginning of July.

"What's happening is that in the breeding season, these young male koalas are dispersing to find a new home range,” Michelle Daly, co-ordinator of the Koala Action Group Gympie said.

"They're just entering maturity, and are being displaced by the more dominant male koalas. They may go long distances on the ground.”

This, she explained, greatly increased the risk of dog attacks and road strikes.

It's not just the Mary Valley Hwy that poses a risk to the national icon. Ms Daly pointed out a number of other danger hotspots in our region.

"One is Tin Can Bay Rd, the Kia Ora area where we've just had another report recently of a male koala killed,” she said.

"The Gympie-Woolooga Rd between Glastonbury and Widgee saw several koalas hit last year.”

There's a steadily growing awareness of the need to report dead or injured koalas, which provides valuable data for conservation and protection efforts.

Still, this illuminating information can often be bitter-sweet.

"Since we have been collating data on local koalas, with growing community reporting of sightings and impacts, we've been a bit shocked by the numbers of road and dog attack mortalities,” Ms Daly said.

"The public are becoming much more aware of reporting these sightings, including deceased koalas. This data really does help in targeting efforts to reduce risks.”

With the start of September meaning koala breeding season is truly under way, expect them to be far more active particularly on local roads.

The presence of speeding cars does little to dissuade them too, as this local found out.

"My friend was on her way to my house, and as she turned from Glastonbury Rd she was astounded when she saw a koala walking up the road,” Faieza Moodaley said.

"We got to the corner of the road and we saw the koala near a light pole. There was already a lady standing by trying to stop it running on to the road.”

Eventually, the three managed to capture the stressed animal, dubbed Southside Sally, who was given a health check before being released back into a safe location in the bush.

There are a number of tips Ms Daly recommends the public take into consideration, including reducing speed after dusk, during the evenings and early mornings on regional roads, as well as ensuring domestic dogs are contained.

If you do encounter a wild koala, living or dead, report the sighting to koalas@mrccc.org.au.

Gympie Times


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