Government will not relocate koala stranded by Gold Coast light rail project

The koala is stranded in the row of trees on the left hand side of the light rail corridor. 

Conservationists claim the koala could starve to death if it is not relocated.

Conservationists are calling for the relocation of a young koala that appears to have been left stranded by construction of the second stage of the Gold Coast light rail project.
Gold Coast resident and ecologist Natalie Sheppard said she had been monitoring the koala for three weeks.
“It’s a very young koala and it just simply has nowhere to go,” she said.
Workers have cleared a tract of land at Parkwood and the koala is living in a small stand of melauca trees.

“I don’t see any chance of long term survival for the koala under current circumstances,” said Mrs Sheppard.

Conservationists claim the koala could starve to death if it is not relocated.

Her concerns have been echoed by the Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council spokeswoman, Lois Levy.

“If nothing is done it’ll starve to death. It will certainly get stressed,” she said.
Koala stranded by light rail corridor at the Gold Coast

PHOTO The koala is stranded in the row of trees on the left hand side of the light rail corridor.

The animal has a koala fence that prevents it from crossing busy Olsen Avenue and Smith Street.
Its only option is to cross a bare tract of land recently cleared for the light rail corridor.
Mrs Sheppard said night works had recently begun at the site.
“At the moment it’s [the koala] very close to daytime construction works and then at night time, night time construction works,” she said.
“There is no patch of bush for it to move off into.”
Ms Levy said the animal needed to be relocated.
“I think they should send in a spotter catcher, who should get the animal and remove it to a safe vicinity, where it’s got food and habitat,” she said.
Light rail project team developed koala management plan

The Gold Coast City Council said it was aware of the issue but said the land and the project belonged to the Transport and Main Roads Department.
A Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said the area had been cordoned off to allow the koala to self-relocate, which is less stressful on the animal.
“Relocation is only undertaken where there is an immediate threat to the animal’s safety or health,” said the spokesperson.
“The project has developed its own Koala Management Plan that has been reviewed and endorsed by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.”
Mrs Sheppard said urgent action needed to be taken.
“I understand that relocation is a highly complex issue for koalas, but the circumstances where they are under imminent threat, an effort should be made to overcome those issues,” she said.
Ms Levy said koalas on the Gold Coast were under extreme threat.
“Unless something is done they’ll be extinct in five years,” she said.

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