Motorists driving into and out of Byron Bay, and in the vicinity of the St Helena Tunnel, have been asked to slow down and keep their eyes open for a koala that is moving around the area.
Susannah Keogh, care co-ordinator for Friends of the Koala, told Echonetdaily their rescue hotline had had ‘four or five calls about it this morning, all which put the koala in a different place.
‘It was last seen in the approach to the tunnel, near the Ewingsdale roundabout,’ she added.
‘We’ve still got people out there looking for it.’
The Transport Management Centre has reopened the tunnel but Ms Keogh implored motorists to drive carefully and contact the hotline on 6622 1233 if they spotted the Koala.
2017 koala death in tunnel
The appearance of the koala follows footage obtained by the ABC under freedom of information yesterday showing a truck driver running over a koala in the tunnel in 2017 despite explicit instructions to avoid that lane of the tunnel.
According to the ABC, the report said the tunnel operator ‘activated LED signs commanding drivers to stay in the left lane, and then made urgent calls for wildlife rescue volunteers to attend’.
The network quoted the rerport as saying that at around 3:00am, ‘The tunnel operators turned on UHF radio to Channel 29 and questioned why the truck driver had disobeyed traffic directions and ran over the animal. [The] truck driver brushed it off stating there is no need to rescue the animal now.’