City putting koalas above progress

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THE overwhelming majority of Gold Coast residents are furious about the impact of land clearing on koalas and support

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THE overwhelming majority of Gold Coast residents are furious about the impact of land clearing on koalas and support the council buying areas for reserves.

More than 92 per cent of residents have supported 61 conservation actions as part of a management strategy by council.

The key findings from a resident survey released in a council report yesterday highlighted “their dissatisfaction with the level of land clearing currently occurring in the city”.

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A koala from Dreamworld’s breeding program — north of the theme park there are fragmented populations of koalas due to encroaching development. Photo: Richard Gosling Source: News Corp Australia



Residents support a land buy-up to secure habitat and increase public open space, and they want tougher fines for illegal tree clearing.

Another critical survey finding was the need to maintain habitat corridors and increase those links through the suburbs.

Residents in their responses saw the major threats to koalas being tree clearing for development, traffic management and domestic dogs.

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The $1 billion Coomera Town Centre development site — council is attempting to gauge the impact of development in the city’s north on its koala habitats. Photo: Richard Gosling Source: News Corp Australia

Councillors at the planning committee meeting went into closed session to discuss potential solutions after last month supporting a

“Borobi Reserve”

at Coomera to help displaced koalas.

Planning Committee chairman Councillor Cameron Caldwell told the

Gold Coast Bulletin

: “Council will consider a range of options to secure additional koala habitat in East Coomera. The decision aims to address the challenges with associated isolated koala populations.

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Pictured is one of many koalas that have been hit and killed since Saturday on the Gold Coast. Picture: Wildcare Australia Inc/Facebook. Source: Supplied

“Options to secure this habitat include acquiring identified properties from private landholders, use of City Plan protection mechanisms and joint land acquisition with the State Government.”

The next steps would include approaching private land owners to gain access to their properties, identifying funding options and then talking to the Government about the money needed, Cr Caldwell said.

The council koala conservation plan found the habitat at Coomera-Pimpama was under “significant pressure” due to clearing for the new town centre.

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Cameron Caldwell (left) shares a joke before a council meeting. — the city behind closed doors is looking at options to protect its koala population. Pic by Richard Gosling Source: News Corp Australia

Other priority koala areas identified in the city included Burleigh Ridge and Elanora-Currumbin Waters, which had long established populations.

The major threats were habitat destruction due to fire or development, traffic and health issues like chlamydia.

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A koala at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo: Kristy Muir Source: Supplied

Vehicle strikes was the second highest cause of mortality with 74 recorded last year, but the report warned the number would be much higher due to lack of reporting.

Currumbin Wildlife Hospital records showed the worst time for koala strikes was between June and January each year with the peak at August during breeding season.

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An iconic shot of a Pimpama koala with nowhere to go after all the trees were cut down around him. Source: Supplied

Chronic stress caused by the ongoing loss of suitable habitat had played a role in chlamydia, the report said.

The hospital had 93 admissions for chlamydial disease in 2016, which compares to 42 in 2010. Of those, 71 lost their lives, up from 26 six years ago.

At least 148 koalas were taken into care between 2010 and 2016 after attacks by domestic dogs, the report said.

The council is aiming to update its data base and promote responsible dog ownership to reduce the threat.

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Gold Coast police snapped these pics to show that motorists were putting people and koalas lives at risk. Photo: Queensland Police Service Source: Supplied

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