29 August 2017

Trapped koalas find a rescuer

A rescue mission has been launched to save koalas trapped on a development site on the Gold Coast.

DREAMWORLD will launch a rescue mission to save more than a dozen koalas trapped by bulldozers on a Gold Coast development site.

The State Government has granted Dreamworld a special permit to rescue the koalas as part of the park’s captive breeding program, with the marsupials to be added to the captive gene pool before being re-released into a safer habitat.

At the weekend The Sunday Mail exclusively revealed the plight of the koalas at Coomera, where widespread development has left small pockets of our Aussie icon fighting for survival.

Dreamworld’s breeding program, in conjunction with Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland, aims to diversify the gene pool by introducing different koalas to populations unable to branch out to other territories after being cut off by development and other infrastructure.

Kirra Coventry and some of her college friends were canoeing on the Murray River near Ulupna, New South Wales, when they spotted a koala stuck up a tree surrounded by water. One of the party used a canoe to help the little critter, who was able to hitch a ride to dry land. Coventry told a local paper the river had risen “quite high” during the course of their excursion, catching out the koala. Coventry says she’s a volunteer with the Bendigo branch of the Victoria state emergency services. This, however, was the first time she’d been involved in the rescue of an animal, she said. Credit: Kirra Coventry via Storyful

There are more than a dozen koalas on a housing development site at Coomera that will be collected by Dreamworld animal handlers and placed in quarantine at the theme park before being re-released into other areas of the Gold Coast.

Speaking at Dreamworld today, Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles said the Government was committed to ensuring the survival of the region’s koala populations, long subjected to pressures from increased development in the so-called ‘koala corridor’.

Conservationists are also lobbying the Government for the creation of a 1500ha koala sanctuary in the region.

Originally published as Trapped koalas find a rescuer

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