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Ash the koala on the remains of a eucalypt forest at Pimpama

DAZED and lost, Ash the koala paints a heartbreaking figure on the now-razed landscape where she once swayed soft and sleepy in the branches of her favourite eucalypts.

The shady forest at Pimpama where she ranged and fed has been reduced to piles of shredded wood, dirt and digging machines to make way for a burgeoning human population in the northern Gold Coast.

The area near the M1 to the city’s north has long been identified a key development area, economically critical to provide homes and jobs in the nation’s fastest-growing region, the Gold Coast Bulletin reports.

However, it is already home to one of the city’s largest populations, with up to 500 koalas thought to be living in the 3640ha area in 2007 – but not for long.

Council documents reveal that “when the new urban area is fully developed, approximately 170 koalas are expected to remain within conservation reserves and rural areas beyond the urban footprint at East Coomera-Pimpama”.

DAZED and lost, Ash the koala paints a heartbreaking figure on the now-razed landscape where she once swayed soft and sleepy in the branches of her favourite eucalypts.

The shady forest at Pimpama where she ranged and fed has been reduced to piles of shredded wood, dirt and digging machines to make way for a burgeoning human population in the northern Gold Coast.


PIMPAMA RESIDENTS FURIOUS AT ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION

The area near the M1 to the city’s north has long been identified a key development area, economically critical to provide homes and jobs in the nation’s fastest-growing region.

However, it is already home to one of the city’s largest populations, with up to 500 koalas thought to be living in the 3640ha area in 2007 – but not for long.

Council documents reveal that “when the new urban area is fully developed, approximately 170 koalas are expected to remain within conservation reserves and rural areas beyond the urban footprint at East Coomera-Pimpama”.

More than a third of habitat in the zone will be cleared to make way for the $1 billion Coomera Town Centre.

When this koala’s photo was taken she was so thirsty and exhausted that volunteer carer Ashley Fraser had only to gently scoop her from the stubbled ground and into her car for the trip to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.

“It’s really devastating – her home was just decimated and she was so confused – it was really sad,” said Ms Fraser, who has volunteered for Wildcare Australia for the past five years.

The organisation works with the Gold Coast council to implement its East Coomera Koala Conservation Project but its main function has been to retrieve and relocate sick, injured and displaced animals.


President Karen Scott said the group had rescued 130 lost and injured koalas so far this year, with the animals wandering far from their home ranges in search of food.

One was even found pacing the sand of a Runaway Bay canal.

As well as the intensive development areas in the north, animals are also being rescued on the southern end – at Elanora, Currumbin and Burleigh where as few as 31 wild koalas are thought to remain.

“We are feeling quite despondent because more koalas are dying from their injuries but those that we can release – we don’t know where we can put it because there’s so much clearing around their home range,” she said.




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WildLife_Rules!: Ash the koala on the remains of a eucalypt forest at Pimpama
Ash the koala on the remains of a eucalypt forest at Pimpama
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