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May 14, 2021

Koala food trees poisoned in Goonellabah

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Koala food trees in Goonellahbah.

As if our wildlife didn’t have enough to contend with because of fire and drought, some humans are destroying healthy koala food trees on purpose.

Lismore City Council is currently investigating the illegal poisoning of a mature Tallowwood koala food tree and a Bloodwood tree in a neighbourhood park in Fischer Street, Goonellabah.

Environmental Strategies Officer Wendy Neilan said the poisoning of the habitat trees is heartbreaking.

‘Koala scats that we found under the Tallowwood when we inspected the trees confirm that this is core habitat for local koalas.

‘Koalas are very particular about the eucalypt leaves they eat with only a few species providing a suitable food resource. Tallowwood is one of their preferred food trees.’

A hole drilled into a food tree.

The trees are estimated to be between 80 to 100 years old. Koalas, tawny frogmouths and wallabies are regularly seen in this small patch of urban bushland.

Ms Neilan says koalas are vulnerable to extinction in NSW and we are very fortunate here in Lismore to be home to a significant koala population. ‘Our local populations are all the more precious given the devasting estimated losses of koalas in South East Australia due to recent bushfires.

‘Mature habitat trees that are dotted throughout our urban landscape in parks and backyards are essential for koala survival,’ said Ms Neilan. ‘By virtue of their size, these old trees provide more food and nesting resources than younger trees. These mature trees are vital to maintaining the biodiversity in our urban landscape.

‘Many Australian native animals such as possums, gliders, antechinuses, wood ducks, rosellas, cockatoos, owls and microbats are reliant on tree hollows for a place to roost and raise their young.’

Three holes drilled into a tree.

Council’s Environmental Health Compliance Officer Stuart Thomson said drill holes used to poison the trees were found at the base of the two trees last December. ‘Besides their importance to our native animals, these trees created shade for a children’s playground,’ he said.

‘It is hard to fathom why anyone would do this. It is as an unlawful act of vandalism that destroys habitat and a community asset.’

Damaging habitat of threatened species carries a hefty fine and can attract a jail term.   

Anyone with information can call council anonymously on 1300 87 83 97 or the NSW Environment Line on 131555.

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  1. Unconscionable behaviour. I would urge Lismore Council to cover the dead tree with white sheeting so that it stands out in the landscape. I would also urge Lismore Council, when replanting happens to install a BIG, BIG sign reading that as a result of deliberate poisoning of koala food tree(s) this replanting has had to be undertaken. The sign will stay in place until the replanted tree(s) have reached maturity

  2. replant four times the number and if you catch the perpetrators charge them – for not only have they murdered the trees, they’ve murdered the koalas by starvation!

  3. I was saddened to see a koala food tree in Kellas Street had been cut down. I can’t believe that the council gave permission for this to happen. Koala rescue were collecting food from this tree only a few weeks ago.

  4. From Michigan, USA, I have only two short sentences for you and, you know who you are… SHAME, SHAME, SHAME. May your milk curdle and your beer go flat.

  5. How bloody disgusting & will anyone be found guilty for starving our declining wildlife already under stress , DUE TO OUR VILE & THOUGHTLESS BEHAVIOUR OVER GENERATIONS….I FEAR Not. How can our useless species continue to be so arrogant & cruel, especially after knowing that our nation is on fire right across Aust ?? Seriously as a wildlife carer I despair, there is NO hope for our species.The sooner we are off the planet the better for all other species.

  6. It is unbelievsble that such unthinkable selfish people exist in this country. Those trees not only feed and support our wildlife but they also clean the air around them so that those who live in the vicinity can breath using the clean oxygen that they expel.Unbelievabke ..

  7. Yet another tree not converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. Tell me: How many trees did the government give Adani permission to clear for the access road to their dirty mine? And how much water have they been given permission to take? Because you can be sure, that in both cases the real number will be double of those stated.
    Governments that give permission to foreign companies to plunder the wealth of Australia are as guilty as the poisoner of these two trees.

  8. Is it possible that it is a view thing? Or have neighbours asked council to remove branches near their homes only to be refused by them possibly? And they then decided to take into their own hands?It does happen so ppl do take action feeling that once it is done there is no way to put the tree back. We have neighbours that actually lied and said they were injured and taken to hospital from a falling branch from the tree off the (adjacent) neighbours property. The trees were all well established and lined the back fence. They were big conifers, quite tall but with just the sturdy main thick trunk and the rest of the tree was essentially feathery branches spreading out from there. So it was logistically impossible for a branch to fall on him, on which he could never provide evidence of. Because they were housing dept properties though they had them removed, as he continued to complain. I was astounded that when I spoke to the aborist he said the trees are not protected so they are coming down. There was nothing wrong with the trees, I understand housing has some sort of inside track within the government dept but if we keep cutting down trees at this rate we will be in real trouble.. On our street alone we have lost 17 street trees that I understand won’t get replaced straight away. But I have been campaigning the local council for 12 years to get our street trees replaced, all the while our maniac housing dept neighbours keep chopping down trees in the hope that they don’t get leaves in their gardens.That doesn’t stop them from hoarding junk that piles up and festers, and all sorts of rodents and pests as a result infiltrate our yards.


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