News

Another acre of declared koala habitat cleared

DEVASTATED: Wildlife rescuer Natalie Richardson wants the Fraser Coast Regional Council to put restrictions on private property owners to prevent further clearing.
DEVASTATED: Wildlife rescuer Natalie Richardson wants the Fraser Coast Regional Council to put restrictions on private property owners to prevent further clearing. Robyne Cuerel

ANOTHER acre of declared koala habitat has been cleared on Springvale Rd, Tinana, destroying 20 potential home and food trees for the vulnerable native animals.

It's a devastating blow to the shrinking koala habitat, says Koala Care Fraser Coast president Natalie Richardson, who wants Fraser Coast Regional Council to put restrictions on private property owners to prevent further clearing.

"The majority of koala habitat is under imminent threat," Ms Richardson said.

"Council makes the clearing laws and council has said they will do something about it and they haven't."

What do you think about clearing declared koala habitat land?

This poll ended on 22 July 2015.

Declared koala habitat land should NOT be cleared. - 50%

It should be up to the owner's of the land. - 20%

Council should put restrictions on private property owners to prevent further clearing. - 30%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

While it is not known whether there were any koalas living on the land as it was cleared, Ms Richardson said there was evidence koalas had been there in the past.

"Koalas have been seen crossing the road heading to and from that property," she said.

"And it's directly across from the conservation site."

The most recent clearing of koala habitat comes as a private land owner in Tinana makes way for a housing development.

RELATED: "Vulnerable" classification not enough to save Koalas

In the past five years the area's koala population has decreased from thousands of animals to just a few hundred. Ms Richardson blames the rapid decline on a combination of shrinking habitat and a form of chlamydia spreading through a large majority of the Fraser Coast koala population.

"The less space they have the more they have to share resources and the worse the disease problem gets," she said.

Fraser Coast councillor Trevor McDonald said the Springvale Rd landowner sought advice from Council, which was given.

"Council compliance officers have visited the property to assess the clearing and are compiling a final report," Cr McDonald said.

"Initial inspection indicates the landowner has met their obligations under the town plan."

Key issues

Given the koala's vulnerable status, developers may require approval from the State or Federal Government to clear land.

While eucalyptus leaves are toxic to most animals, koalas are adapted to digest gum leaves without getting sick.

Topics:  koala habitat koalas wildlife



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