It is a simple message ‘slow down’ – particularly if you are driving at dawn or dusk as this is when koalas are active and on the move. Bangalow Koalas say they are devastated at the loss of two healthy breeding female koalas in the last week that have been killed, along with their joeys, by car strikes.
The first car strike took place last Friday night on Hinterland Way between Lawlers Lane and Wiley Road, Bangalow. This was a spot where Bangalow Kolas had been alerted to the fact there was a koala moving around in the area. Bangalow Koalas had raised funds to put up a sign reminding drivers to slow down as there were koalas on the road. So when you see the signs, remember they are there because there are koalas on the move.
The koala and her joey were taken alive to Lismore’s ‘Friends of the Koala (FOK) by the member of the public but tragically their injuries were too severe to survive,’ said Dale Viola who is a member of Bangalow Koalas and a koala rescuer for FOK.
‘The joey was about 12 months and weighing 2kg.’
The second car strike took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning when a local ‘who was on his way to work found a female koala dead in the middle of the road out the front of 825 Broken Head Road, Broken Head,’ said Linda Sparrow, president of Bangalow Koalas.
‘When he stopped to check for a joey he found the deceased pouch young dead beside the road. He brought the dead koalas to me not knowing what else to do and what I saw this morning I can never unsee. It was the most devastatingly, distressing sight I have ever seen – the lifeless bodies of what were a perfectly healthy breeding female and her healthy young joey.’
‘Both of the mums were very healthy and in really good body condition, it is such a tragic waste, the loss of four healthy girls to the east coast koala population,’ said Ms Viola.
‘Slow down at dark, drive alert and a bit slower in koala habitat area around bends and crests where vision is not good. This just might save a life,’ she said.
The koala has been declared as endangered in NSW.
‘Our endangered koalas are fighting an uphill battle to stay alive with habitat loss, car strikes, dog attacks and disease,’ said Ms Sparrow.
Ms Sparrow highlighted the need for action considering the recent release of the ‘depressing State of the Environment report’ and reminded drivers that what they can do is ‘slow down’.
‘Something must be done to protect and save them. We must do more, they don’t have a voice, only cries of pain as they suffer from our neglect to protect them.’
During breeding season in particular koalas, especially young males, are on the move.
‘Slow down and watch out while driving between dusk and dawn,’ said Ms Sparrow.
‘Keep dogs inside during these hours or at least contained. And to stop cutting down their homes.’
Report a sighting
If you see a koala either a healthy one or an injured or sick one you can report the sighting to FOK or call the Rescue Hotline immediately (02) 6622 1233.
‘Friends of the Koala not only records the whereabouts of sick and injured koalas we also like to know about healthy ones. By doing this we will build a better picture of koalas in the Northern Rivers Region of NSW,’ FOK explain on their website.