Did you know that when you drive between Tin Can Bay or Rainbow Beach and Gympie, you are passing through a very significant regional koala area, and that many koalas have been hit along this road? Have you noticed the koala sign at Kia Ora? Last year, two koalas were killed here, in the vicinity of Priddy Road, and the mother and baby koala pictured had a rare lucky escape when hit there on a Friday night. After months of treatment and rehabilitation, they have returned to Kia Ora.
The Koala Action Group Gympie Region (KAG) is seeking community support to reduce the koala road mortality rate this year. The koala’s breeding season has begun which means the male koalas, especially, are now very active, often travelling large distances and crossing roads regularly, placing them at greater risk from passing traffic and dog attacks. Koalas are generally “on the move” during the night and early morning so we are appealing to all drivers to reduce their speed from dusk to dawn in koala areas.
Between July 2016 and February this year, there were 15 known koala mortalities on our region’s roads, and sadly koala breeding season began this year with the deaths of two young male koalas on the Mary Valley Highway in early July. Young male koalas, just entering maturity, are particularly vulnerable during breeding season as they are being displaced by the more dominant males. Thus, they tend to move around much more, seeking to attach themselves to a new breeding group. So, along with the older breeding males, they are on the ground more often and are subject to countless dangers.
Any koala, hit by a car or attacked by a dog, needs urgent veterinary attention. While a koala may appear to be fine, most die from internal injury and infection. The local ANARRA wildlife rescue number is 54849111 and we encourage everyone to keep this contact handy to report injured animals. If a koala dies as a result of vehicle strike, the Koala Action Group will attend to gain and record valuable data such as DNA, the presence of a pouch, the location of the strike. This information assists us locally to target efforts to help our vulnerable local koala populations. The KAG Coordinator can be contacted on 54835242 or 0437549252.
The Koala Action Group was formed two years ago by a group of like-minded people concerned about the plight of koalas in this area. We encourage the community to assist us in raising awareness about the dangers our koalas face, especially in the current koala breeding season. The koala signs on our roads mean koalas live there and cross those roads to move between habitat areas.
The message is ‘Look out, koalas about’. Koalas need our help if they are to survive and thrive in our region. Please check our Facebook page for up to date information on local koala conservation.