DANGER ZONE: Rosalie the koala, pictured at the Friends of the Koala enclosure at East Lismore. The Federal Government has listed the koala as a vulnerable species in some parts of Australia.
DANGER ZONE: Rosalie the koala, pictured at the Friends of the Koala enclosure at East Lismore. The Federal Government has listed the koala as a vulnerable species in some parts of Australia. Cathy Adams

Roads top threat to koalas

WHY did the koala cross the road?

That's the big question posed by a three-year radio-tracking study by Friends of the Koala that followed nine of the marsupials as they moved around Lismore and Goonellabah.

Southern Cross University wildlife ecology lecturer Dr Ross Goldingay has presented the findings of the study at a Friends of the Koala workshop - Hot Topics in Koala Ecology, Conservation and Management - at the university this morning.

Dr Goldingay said cars were one of the biggest threats to Northern Rivers koalas.

In 2011-12, Friends of the Koala was notified of 52 koalas being hit by cars. Only 10 survived.

The study found all nine koalas monitored during the radio-tracking study regularly crossed roads in their habitat.

One of the koalas that lived in Goonellabah - nicknamed Ashley - crossed the Bruxner Hwy and other roads at least 53 times during the two years he was tracked.

"He's had a few near-misses but somehow he's managed to survive," Dr Goldingay said.

"The study shows we need to be more creative about how we improve koala crossings over roads."

He said underpasses or improvements to koala habitats were two possible options.

Dr Goldingay is joined at the workshop, which is underway now, by fellow koala expert Dr Steve Phillips, who will talk about koala population trends, the impact of logging and music festivals and the new federal guidelines on significant koala populations.

The workshop began at 9.30am and is being held at Z Block on Southern Cross University's Lismore Campus. If you want to drop in, entry is $5 for FOK members, $10 for licensed rehabilitators and concession holders and $15 for others.

For more information, phone 6622 1233.



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