Koala study to protect population

GOLD Coast City Council is set to protect the Currumbin koala population with a conservation plan.

Elanora and Currumbin Waters will be the focus of a koala study for the next 12 months.

Details of the project were presented to this week's Sustainable City Future Committee and will be considered by the full council next Monday.

Peter Young, chairman of the Sustainable City Futures Committee, said it was vital to act now to ensure the long-term survival of koalas in the area.

"The Elanora-Currumbin Waters area supports one of the most significant peri-urban koala populations on the Gold Coast," Cr Young said.

"Sadly, there has been a substantial increase in koala rescues in the area over the past two years.

"Without adequate measures in place to minimise the risk to koalas from traffic and pet dogs, we will see the number of koala rescues increase, and ultimately a decline in the population," Cr Young said.

The project is in addition to the koala conservation work the council is undertaking at East Coomera.

Under this project, the council will partner with Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Wildcare Australia.

As koalas are admitted to the Currumbin Sanctuary Wildlife HospitaI for treatment, thorough health checks will be undertaken in order to establish a detailed health and demographic profile for the local koalas.

In the short-term, the council will begin trialling new koala road crossing signs, undertaking field surveys and engaging the local community.

Divisional Councillor Chris Robbins said involving the local community was essential in ensuring the success of the project.

"The koalas in the Elanora-Currumbin Waters area are well-known and loved by the local residents," Cr Robbins said.

"The local community has shown its willingness to help care for the koala population with the fantastic response we have had to Council's koala sighting program. Through this project, it is proposed to increase opportunities for residents to participate in koala protection." 

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