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Byron Shire
May 26, 2024

Koala stranded

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The plight of koalas was demonstrated very well this week with a koala found dangerously stranded in the main street of Murwillumbah. Others have sadly been hit and killed by cars. This is the time of year that koalas are on the move but they need homes to go to and they need wildlife corridors to connect their habitat to enable them to cross the landscape. Murwillumbah is surrounded by cane fields with no linkages for this koala to travel to safety and find food.

Friends of the Koala were able to come to her rescue and, after assessing her health, will then release her into the closest suitable habitat. But finding that habitat is the hard thing. 

This week another local koala was found walking down the middle of a road surrounded by cane fields. The nearest vegetation, as is often the case, was mostly exotic or weed species. 

Please consider planting koala food trees and other native trees as habitat for wildlife, particularly if you live on a rural property. The lives of our wildlife depend on it. 

Watercourses make great wildlife corridors but many are just full of weed species, so protect and revegetate riparian zones with local native species and you will start to see wildlife appreciating your efforts. There is nothing more special than seeing a koala or other wildlife using a tree you have planted. 

And if you see a koala, either injured, in danger, or not looking well – bad eyes, wet/dirty bottom, or on ground and not moving – call Friends of the Koala on their hotline 6622 1233, and for other wildlife call Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers’ hotline on 6672 4789. Please put these numbers in your phone as they depend on kind members of the public to notify them. Volunteers are also always needed. 

Susie Hearder, Limpinwood

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  1. We should not be planting isolated patches of Koala habitat on the lowland rainforest and coastal flats, that is only going to make things worse, we should be relocating Koalas into national parks and away from human civilisation, dogs, roads etc. This is proven with ecological modelling and real world outcomes of many threatened species.

    The more habitat grown around towns, and also rural properties surrounded by farms and roads is only going to make things worse.

    Stop trying to make Koala habitat around humans, for humans enjoyment, move them as far away from humans as possible and focus on habitat protection in those areas. If your serious about protecting the Koala we should be doing a mass relocation program into areas away from civilisation, not planting more habitat near it.

  2. Ok then Mick, plant corridors then.
    No-one is planting isolated patches “on the lowland rainforest” & FYI coastal flats on the North Coast are where koalas have always inhabited & still do irrespective of tenure, because that’s where their food trees are, & the climate is more favourable. The writer suggested rural landowners plant food trees on their rural properties where koalas are being found without adequate food tree. It’s not as though you can argue most farms have no room for a couple of trees or are overrun with native vegetation & it’s not just koalas that would benefit.

    Several of the largest populations in NSW still occur outside of national parks.

    Have you considered that maybe we need to stop clearing their habitat & building where they live so they don’t get killed by vehicles or dogs?
    If you’re serious about conserving the koala, the other thing you might at least want to consider, is familiarising yourself with ANY of the expert, scientific research-based management recommendations of the past 30+ years, NONE of which support your bizarre & absurd ecological modelling claims or mass relocation program.

    Since it’s such a burden on you to consider changing any of your behaviour for the benefit of another species, particularly a threatened species, how about you go & live in the middle of a concrete jungle as far away from all other species as possible?

    • Be realistic, do you really think that us as humans are going to just pack up and leave the coastal areas ? even if we did no more development from right now, there’s still enough houses and roads at the moment that trying to grow a koala population around these urban areas is only going to result in road kills, dog kills and declines in population.

      As soon as someone like myself who is a profound conservationist, I have planted thousands of trees in my life for both work and privately on land, the Koala issue is so politicised and nonsensical, any kind of reasonable discussion or scientific discussion is shut down and fingers are pointed, eg your comment about moving into a concrete jungle.

      The idea that on private lands, land clearing of Koala habitat in the northern rivers is the issue is false, the truth is that the north coast was largely cleared for dairying and farming 100 years ago, there is significantly more vegetation and habitat now then there was 50 or even 25 years ago, and the rate of land clearing is extremely low in our region on private land.

      The real threat to Koalas is road kills, dogs and disease, of which planting more habitat around urban areas will only result in more of these koalas dying, we need to grow populations away from our growth areas if we are to save them, just as they have done very successfully with the Bengal Tigers in India and the Pandas in China, they have targeted habitat areas AWAY from humans.

      Eg. there is a huge koala planting, right alongside Lismore Road at Binna Burra, this is a rainforest soil and habitat type historically, ‘binna burra’ means forest of beech trees in indigenous language, yet we have a huge koala tree planting on red soils, next to a main road. What kind of stupid idea was this? all to appease our human need to have koalas living in our backyard, will only result in huge numbers of them dying on the busy road next to the planted habitat area. just wait and see the reality…


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