VULNERABLE: A koala looks down from its eucalypt perch in the Noosa Headland section of Noosa National Park. Photo: Contributed
VULNERABLE: A koala looks down from its eucalypt perch in the Noosa Headland section of Noosa National Park. Photo: Contributed

Council points to thousands pledged for koala black spots

IN THE wake of the devastating death of a koala and her joey on Noosa Drive last weekend, Noosa Council has pointed to the thousands of dollars allocated to improve koala safety in the area.

Noosa Council principal environment officer Peter Milne said council was looking into solutions for wildlife fatality black spots.

“This year we’ve allocated $14,000 to upgrade existing koala climbing poles on Noosa Drive and Leslie Drive, as these give koalas a better chance of climbing to safety from the road,” he said.

“We’ve investigated options to reduce the likelihood of koalas being hit by cars on this section of Noosa Drive, but with pathways, a four-way intersection and bridge in this location, fencing isn’t an option.”

Mr Milne said there were two signs along Noosa Drive, and about 70 across the shire, to advise drivers of potential wildlife.

“We urge all drivers to be alert for wildlife, especially at night and in known koala hot spots,” he said.

“The roundabout and connecting roads near the RACV are also lit at night by six street lights.”

Wildcare’s Bernard Jean has rescued three koalas in Noosa National Park in as many weeks and says more needs to be done to protect the vulnerable species.

“That’s my passion (looking after koalas),” Mr Jean said.

“We need to protect koalas in areas where we have built houses.”

“We need cars slowing down and speed signs.”

Mr Jean said koalas had “tree memories” and if a tree used to stand where a road now existed, the koala would return to that spot.

“Wildlife is loosing the battle, we need to restore the balance,” he said.

He said Wildcare had a good relationship with Noosa Council and he was pleased with its proactive response.

“We have suggestions on what should be done,” he said.

While Noosa Council had acknowledged the problem needed addressing, Mr Milne said no one could predict every possible scenario.

“As Noosa Shire has an extensive vegetation network and more than 1000km of road, it’s impossible to predict every koala crossing point and install fencing and wildlife underpasses at each location,” he said.

Mr Milne said in-car thermal technology that alerted drivers to wildlife was available but expensive.

“Sadly, however, vehicles aren’t the only threat koalas face – disease and wild dogs kill more koalas each year than anything else,” he said.

“Right now we’re focusing on protecting and rehabilitating large, core, koala habitat areas such as the Yurol-Ringtail State Forests Conservation Project area.”

“There are less risks to koalas and a greater chance of maintaining a sustainable koala population away from more developed areas.”