Koala rescued from the Pechey fires recovering at the RSPCA koala hospital in Wacol.
Koala rescued from the Pechey fires recovering at the RSPCA koala hospital in Wacol.

Koalas become a state priority

CONCERN for Queensland's declining koala population has led to the creation of the South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy 2019-24.

The draft strategy was released by the State Government on Sunday, outlining more than 570,000 hectares of land to be declared "koala priority areas".

A large part of the Toowoomba region is included in the draft habitat areas, including parts of Cabarlah, Highfields, Spring Bluff, Murphy's Creek, Prince Henry Heights, Rangeville, Table Top Bushland Reserve, and Redwood and Jubilee Parks.

The strategy outlines four main targets:

•No decline in total area of core koala habitat in southeast Queensland from 2017 levels.

•Commence rehabilitation to restore 1000 ha of cleared habitat

•No long-term decline in koala population numbers in southeast Queensland.

•25 per cent reduction of injury and mortality.

In the month of November, the RSPCA took in 148 injured koalas, compared to 56 the year before. RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said at least 30 koalas were brought into the Wacol koala hospital from fires in the Toowoomba region alone.

With so much of the koalas' habitat destroyed in the fires, he said any move to protect the koalas would help.

"The main problem we have is the loss of habitat," Mr Beatty said.

"If we get rain, it (the habitat) will regenerate, there's no doubt about that. But obviously we need rain.

"But if those areas can be protected from construction it's a major benefit."

 

 

The strategy has been developed in consultation with a dedicated Koala Advisory Council, which includes members of both conservation and development sectors as well as koala experts, First Nations representatives and local government, and will address all threats impacting koala populations including habitat loss, disease management, vehicle strikes and dog attacks.

The public will have until January 31, 2020 to provide feedback on the draft strategy available at www.qld.gov.au/seqkoalas.



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