At last weeks CHC Council meeting (Thursday 10-09-2020), Cr. Sally Townley called for Council to prepare a report into options for koala protection measures in our urban areas following recently recorded deaths of several koalas, including breeding females, on local roads.
By Dave Woods
Recent hotspots for vehicle strikes have been Hogbin drive between the Airport and the University, the section of highway south of the Hospital, and Pine Creek Way near Bonville to the south. We are reminded of the 2013 study by Scotts which estimated a resident population of only 50 individual koalas existed at that time between the Korora Basin and Sawtell.
The original CHCC Koala Plan of Management 2000 contained an often overlooked Part B, which set out a range of amelioration measures which could be adopted to assist in preventing road mortality of our local koala.
Unfortunately, implementation of many of these recommended measures has not been as high a priority as it could have been. While options such as roadside fauna fencing are expensive to install, they have been shown to be effective.
The original section of fauna fence near Newport’s Creek bridge on Hogbin Drive has needed repair. It also needs extending to be effective.
We believe an offer from WIRES earlier in the year for both supply and install of wildlife signage at designated fauna hotspots was also turned down by CHCC.
There is an argument that fixed signage is ineffective, although a trial using the large temporary portable electronic signs may be worth exploring. Better roadside lighting is another element which can assist motorists to look out for and avoid striking nocturnal wildlife when they are on the move.
While it is good that Cr. Townley’s request has highlighted the issue, we fear it will only be a waste of time unless it results in some urgent and effective action. We are also aware that the relevant Council staff have been alerted to the issue by frustrated WIRES personnel, and are already considering some options.
Let’s hope it gets the attention and funding it deserves.
We once again remind local motorists of the need for extra vigilance along any area adjacent to bushland where koala are likely to be crossing roads, and the need for timely reporting of any casualties, including deceased animals to WIRES on 02 6652 7119.
The above is a Press Release from the Save Lot 2 Group – wednesday 16 September