SEQ council steps up effort to protect urban koala colonies
EFFORTS to protect koalas are being ramped up as rescues and sightings increase in streets around urban bushland reserves.
According to the RSPCA more than 700 koalas have been treated at their veterinary clinic in the past 12 months from Brisbane and surrounding regions.
Brisbane City Council today announced it would extend its signage program trialled last year to alert motorists to slow down in koala hotpots.
Deputy Mayor Krista Adams said variable message signs had been effective in reducing koala fatalities in known hotspots and, to continue the successful conservation efforts, this year's project would run twice as long and would see the signage installed in two additional locations.
"We want Brisbane to be Australia's koala capital and we need to make sure these beloved animals are protected," Cr Adams said.
"It is currently breeding season which means our local koalas are more active as they look for mates and new territory, unfortunately, this means they are also more likely to cross our roads, so it is important we take further steps to protect them."
The council trialled the use of temporary flashing signs and road pavement 'Wildlife' signs around koala hotspots last year and will extend the duration of the program and include two additional koala hotspots.
RSPCA chief inspector Daniel Young said the 700 koalas were among more than 20,000 wildlife treated at their veterinary clinic in the past 12 months from Brisbane and surrounding regions.
"We are encroaching on their territory so they are being moved into more urban areas," he said.
"The more clearing of land, they have to go somewhere and when you have these little pockets of vegetation around urban areas they are going to accumulate there.
"These measures are a start. This is a great initiative and hopefully after this we can come up with more strategies to hopefully mitigate koala-vehicle accidents."
Temporary variable message signs will be installed at Boundary Road in Camp Hill, Creek Road in Mount Gravatt East, Creek Road in Carindale, Winstanley Road in Carindale, Cavendish Road in Mount Gravatt East, Mt Gravatt-Capalaba Road in Chandler, Tilley Road in Chandler, Beckett Road in McDowall and Bridgeman Downs, and Wyncroft Street and Pine Mountain Road in Mount Gravatt East.
Cr Adams said no vehicle strikes of koalas were reported while the signage was in place.
"Using temporary signage is a strategy that increases driver awareness and it can be particularly effective for drivers that are used to the existing signs in their area.
Cr Adams said the signs formed part of Brisbane's wildlife movement solutions infrastructure, which was just one of the methods Brisbane City Council use to protect local animals.
"We have a wide range of wildlife movement solutions which help animals move safely across our roads and improve driver safety, including overpasses, glider poles and wildlife exclusion fencing," she said.
"Every vehicle strike is a tragedy, especially for our precious koalas that are already so vulnerable, so I encourage all drivers to take notice of these signs and reduce their speed.
"We are not the only ones who call Brisbane home and we are committed to keeping Brisbane clean and green, which means protecting our native wildlife, now and into the future."