Monday, February 26, 2024

Spike in koala deaths prompts Tweed council warning

Tweed Shire Council is asking motorists to take care on local roads following a horror spate of koala deaths and injuries.

Since mid-July, at least 30 koalas have been reported to have been hit by cars or attacked by dogs across the Northern Rivers.

Council is joining Friends of the Koala in urging the community to contain dogs at night and keep a lookout for koalas on their properties and when driving, particularly between dusk and dawn.

Friends of the Koala veterinary surgeon, Dr Jodie Wakeman said the recent number of vehicle strikes had been unprecedented.

“Sadly, over the past two months Friends of the Koala has tended to 30 koalas across the Northern Rivers that have been hit by a car or attacked by a dog. Four of these were mothers with female baby joeys,” Dr Wakeman said.

“Although many of the adults unfortunately sustained fatal injuries, we have managed to save two of the joeys that are now recovering in homecare after treatment in hospital.

“While admissions to our hospital and calls to our rescue hotline usually spike between July and December, recent numbers of car hits are unprecedented.

A healthy female koala was seen climbing a tree in the Murwillumbah CBD.

“We understand accidents happen, but we are urging members of the public to call our rescue hotline on 02 6622 1233 immediately to ensure injured koalas have the best chance of survival,” she said.

Council’s Biodiversity Projects and Planning Officer, Marama Hopkins said the severe impacts on koalas across the Northern Rivers so far this year were reflected on the Tweed.

“Our local rescuers have had a particularly busy start to the season, with eight rescues within eight days in late August in the Tweed,” Ms Hopkins said.

“This included a fatal vehicle strike on Terranora Rd. Losing yet another koala in this well-known koala zone, particularly a healthy young female, is devastating.

“We need to be aware that koalas can turn up in the strangest of places and where we least expect them and take action as caretakers of our internationally significant environment to pass onto our next generation.”

Ms Hopkins said just last Friday, a koala was spotted climbing a tree in the Murwillumbah CBD (pictured), highlighting their mobility at this time of year.

Members of the public can help koalas by:

  • Containing dogs at night when koalas are most active
  • Providing safe refuges for koalas in backyards such as a tree or climbing pole.
  • Observing koala road signs and driving slowly in known koala areas, taking into account there might be a koala on the road.
  • Reporting all koala sightings: sick, injured or distressed koalas immediately to the Friends of the Koala 24/7 rescue hotline on 02 6622 1233.

To find out more about the Tweed’s koalas visit tweed.nsw.gov.au/koalas.

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