Tweed Council is warning motorists that koalas are on the move and is asking drivers to take extra caution through new koala zones marked on Terranora Road, following several sightings and two accidents involving the much-loved marsupials in recent weeks.
Signage and road markings have been in place for less than two weeks but unfortunately, there has already been a number of incidents within the past week.
Last Tuesday night, a female koala was hit on the road near the quarry. The motorist involved stopped to check on the female and while moving the body felt movement in the tummy.
The motorist transported the koala to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital where the male joey was removed from her pouch and is now in the care of hospital staff.
The motorist was asked by staff to name the joey which he did after his son, Heath.
Joey has a good chance of survival
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Senior Veterinarian Dr Michael Pyne said unfortunately the mother did not survive the accident but the joey has a good chance of survival in foster care. ‘From Terranora Road alone, we’ve seen three koala admissions in the past week. All of these koalas have suffered severe life-threatening injuries,’ said Dr Pyne.
‘With shorter daylight hours, it is important motorists are aware that koalas are on the move and sharing our roads as we come into the breeding season.
‘If you are involved in an accident with a koala, it’s critical you call Currumbin Wildlife Hospital immediately or a 24-hour wildlife rescue group such as Friends of the Koala and Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers.’
Second incident involving mother koalas
This is the second incident involving mother koalas moving on Terranora Road.
Very recently a beautiful healthy koala carrying a tiny joey was hit by a car right in the new koala zone marking. Friends of the Koala responded to the call.
The koala, who has been named Jamie, suffered serious injuries to her face, and needed immediate surgery. She is now out of intensive care, but had to have one eye removed, and both mother and joey are being monitored by hospital staff.
The koala zone is designed to serve as a reminder to drivers that koalas are active on these roads at all times of year, and to drive with care and heightened attention always.
Koala zone was installed in response to increased sightings
Council Senior Program Leader Biodiversity Scott Hetherington said the koala zone was installed on Terranora Road in response to an increasing number of sightings over the past two years.
‘On this stretch of Terranora Road, residents have reported 16 koalas either been killed, injured or seen crossing the road.
‘We urge all motorist to drive with extra care at all times of day with koalas on the move around Terranora,’ said Mr Hetherington.
‘It is a tragedy to record two terrible incidents this week with not just one, but two mother koalas with joeys hit.
‘Of course, koalas can appear out of nowhere, and sometimes we can’t avoid wildlife on the road, but if we all slow down, particularly in a koala zone, their chances will be so much higher.
Everyone’s responsibility to take care on the road
‘It’s everyone’s responsibility to take care on the road, not just for the koalas that live in this area but for our children, neighbours, visitors and fellow residents. It is our responsibility to make sure our children can still see koalas in the wild.’
Motorists who happen to hit a koala or other wildlife on the road are urged to take time to stop, check on the animal and call for help if needed. Friends of the Koala and Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers are on call 24 hours a day for rescues.
Put the numbers in your phone today: Friends of the Koala 02 6622 1233 and Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers 02 6672 4789.
Report all koala sightings at www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/koalas.