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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Ten koala deaths in three days on North Coast

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At least a dozen sick, injured and dead koalas have been taken to the Friends of the Koala’s care centre this week. Photo FOK

Friends of the Koala reports that despite its campaign to prevent koala extinction on the North Coast, 12 sick, injured and dead koalas were brought to its Care Centre within the space of three days this week.

On Sunday and Monday eight animals were brought to FOK’s East Lismore centre.

Yesterday two more dead animals came in and another two were brought in on Tuesday.

Only two of the animals are is still alive.

Two of the dead animals were at peak breeding age, according to FOK president Ros Irwin.

Two were hit by cars – one in Wyrallah Road, Lismore, and one on Ewingsdale Road, Byron Bay.

Call-out to contain dogs

Marley, vet nurse at FOK, said of the remainder most were infected with chlamydia and one adult male had suffered multiple dog attacks.

Almost all were either dead on arrival or had to be euthanised.

Just two animals, dubbed Glow and Eli, are in a condition to be re-released.

‘Glow was found in a mango tree, with no koala trees around. He’s fine and will probably released somewhere close,’ Ms Erwin said.

‘Eli was also found “in the wrong place” here in Lismore,’ she added.

Ms Irwin made a special call-out to people contain their dogs at night.

‘It’s horrific, generally there’s not much we can do because they shake them around so much,’ she said.

The dead koala found on Ewingsdale Road. Photo Linda Sparrow

Horrific car strike

One of the animals killed was collected by Bangalow Koalas’ president Linda Sparrow from Ewingsdale Road outside SAE, where it had been the victim of an ‘horrific car strike’.

Ms Sparrow yesterday wrote an impassioned letter to Byron Shire councillors demanding action on koala warning signage that she said has been long promised but not delivered.

‘I have personally rescued three koalas in Byron in last two months alone(Ewingsdale/ Byron/ Myocum),’ she wrote

‘All three had to be euthanised and this is the fourth one this morning.

‘The poor boy (very healthy male) clearly had no chance. Sorry for gruesome images but this is what it is like on the frontline when you are called to this. Cars and koalas do not mix.

‘How much are our koalas worth if not to provide safe passage?

‘I am still waiting for koala signage on Lismore Road opposite Dudgeons Lane where 11 months ago I had to pick up this other healthy dead male 25 metres down from 201 Lismore Road.

‘It is very distressing to be called to these scenes then to have to remove the body and take out to Lismore.

‘We need to offer safe passage and if we don’t stop West Byron that is the stark reality they are doomed.

‘We urgently need koala signage to try and slow traffic down – particularly signage on the roads itself.

We cannot put a value on our koalas as they are priceless and  once they are gone there is no turning back,’ Ms Sparrow wrote.

Tweed land purchase

Koalas in the Tweed Shire may stand a slightly better chance after the state government announced a further 40 hectare land purchase at Cudgera Creek Nature Reserve, in addition to a 100 hectare purchase announced six weeks ago at Cudgen Nature Reserve.

Twed MP Geoff Provest said the latest addition ‘compliments existing efforts by the government to conserve high value koala habitat that supports landscape connectivity as well as the east-west movement of koalas between the hinterland and the coast’.

‘This movement is important for the future survival of the Tweed’s population of coastal koalas which have been recorded moving back and forth over the Pacific Highway near the nature reserve via a specially designed fauna land bridge,’ Mr Provest said.


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  1. Oh that is so sad.
    Sickness in koalas is probably stressed induced.
    Drivers taking more care and dog owners keeping their dogs in are both so achievable if only people cared.

  2. The death of another Koala adjacent to West Byron is sad, but inevitable. Ewingsdale Road is the major obstacle for connectivity between animal populations to the north and south of Byron Bay. It would have been so easy and cheap for them to have put an underpass in when building the Sunrise roundabout, given that they built the area up so much for it.

    I find it ironic that the new roundabout for access to West Byron is being built over what I consider to be an important crossing area for Wallum Sedge Frogs, which I detailed in my submission to West Byron, and yet Council is already building it before they bothered to consider my submission. I wonder whether it has a Wallum Sedge Frog underpass (which is even cheaper and easier)?

    We need more ecological expertise and concern in Council’s staff.

    • i fully agree with everything Dailan is stating in this regard. It really is absolutely awful of those responsible inside Byron Council to continue to fail in ‘their DUTY OF CARE’ in these crucial matters? Why are knowledgable people like Mr. Pugh & his submission being ignored? Mr. Pugh represents many of us ratepayers and we want to see that his highly qualified feedback is being taken onboard by this Council as a matter of URGENT PRIORITY !

  3. very sad to read about Koala’s and what is happening to them at this rate there will be none left down Byron and Lismore way, is it so hard for them to put in specially designed fauna land bridge and more trees like the Tweed has- so they can cross highways and roads or don’t they care about wild life

  4. Agree with D Pugh . I’ve read plans for underpasses but don’t see any actual underpasses.
    Obvious demise of our habitats and our iconic treasures such as Koalas

  5. This is tragic. But sadly our koalas are doomed to extinction unless the Government protects ALL their habitat and important wildlife corridors. Whilst the NSW Government has purchased land in the Tweed they are also allowing logging of koala habitat such as the logging at Limpinwood and introducing new forestry laws stripping environmental protections where there is not even a requirement for loggers to even look for koalas before cutting their trees down. Just shameful what the Berejiklian Government is doing.

  6. Just unforgivable that Byron council was “”unable”” to provide essential koala protection infrastructure in their relentless march for development….

  7. So very sad. These creatures are so wonderful, in the words of David Attenborough, completely enchanting. The world would be so much more dismal without our living teddy bears. Would over or under wildlife corridors be of any use?

  8. In another recent article in the Echo a motorist writes well about the risk of hitting a pedestrian who apparently puts himself in dnager and disrupts traffic in the vicinity of Mullum. These letters express valid concerns about the risks to koalas and they extend to other small animals. As a cyclist I myslef feel at times feel nervous from relativey fast moving heavy motor vehicles. Is there a common theme here?

    In Europe and also Japan car speeds are now increasingly kept down in rural areas to the speed a motorist can see and easily slow or stop for a pedestrian, animal or a cyclist on the road . For exaple, in Sweden – where distances in rural areas are not dissimialr from regions like ours – 70kph is the highest speed allwoed on the widest undivided roads, with lower speeds on narrower roads and lower speeds in towns than we apply. It is telling that in the area where Australian motorists most commonly themselves walk – around car parks – they drive much more slowly.

    Sweden and other European countries are targetting zero deaths ( of humans – they do not get a lot of koalas). We also need to revise the Austroads speed guidelines to provide the same level of safely that countries liek Sweden and Norway are targetting, a level of safety we yake for granted when we travel by air. A combiation of our poven capacity in public helath and safet campaigning, and the coming of GPS tracking of all vehicles will provide the means to ensure slower limits are adhered too.

  9. The best short term solution, and the only long term solution, is to stop the buildup of human population on this continent


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