Dead koala becomes face of anti-development
A YOUNG koala has become the face of the anti-development movement on Brisbane's southside after being mauled to death by dogs.
Outraged residents claim the koala, who they had christened Carter, died as a direct result of being forced out of his natural habitat by a developer.
They say Carter was one of several koalas left homeless when Mt Gravatt East bushland was cleared in June to make way for a 32-townhouse development.
Even before a development application has been lodged, residents opposed to the townhouse plans have started the Mt Gravatt East Townhouse Development Action Group, amassing hundreds of signatures in a bid to stop the development in its tracks.
The clearing of the land is believed to have been carried out by the developer ahead of the sale of the blocks being finalised later this year.
On July 25, Mt Gravatt East resident Michelle Henry spotted the koala sitting low in a palm tree in her backyard, she reached out to Daisy Hill Koala Centre.
By that evening Carter the koala had suffered "horrific" injuries after being attacked by dogs and died on the operating table at an RSPCA facility.
Mrs Henry took to Facebook to vent her frustrations about the senseless death.
"My husband and I spent the night consoling our children after we found this beautiful boy injured," she wrote.
"We had contacted the EPA and were referred to the Daisy Hill Koala Centre. We advised that he was in a palm tree and that the neighbourhood had many dogs and domestic pets and we were concerned for his welfare.
"They advised us that the koala was better left where he was as he would be put under more stress if he was to be moved.
"There will be many displaced animals due to the clearing of this land."
The Daisy Hill Koala Centre and the developer have been contacted for comment.
RSPCA volunteer Angela Christodoulou told the Southern Star she retrieved Carter the koala from the Carrara St address but nothing could be done to save him.
"He died on the (operating) table from the wounds," she said of the four-year-old koala.
"It is indeed a very sad outcome for this precious beautiful boy, and so easily avoidable.
"I cannot stress enough, if you see a koala alive and well, report the sighting - take a photograph, GPS log it and forward (the information) to koalatraker.com.au / or message me and I will log it. This data is vital.
"If you see an injured/sick or displaced koala phone RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL immediately. "Try to stay with the animal, from a safe distance.
"If the koala is on the ground - place a thick blanket/an upturned washing basket or box over it.
"Please I implore you, these beautiful creatures need our help, your local wildlife group needs your help.
"I try to do what I can to rescue them and get them the treatment they need but there is still so much we need to do. I have rescued hundreds of koalas in my local area (Whites Hill Reserve and neighbouring suburbs).
"If you want to get involved so your children, and your children's children get to see them in their natural environment … we as a community need to do more."
A Brisbane City Council spokeswoman said council was "committed" to the ongoing protection of the city's koala population.
" … And is investing $120 million to acquire 750 ha of bushland that includes koala habitat and recently opened a state-of-the-art research facility at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to help boost koala conservation.
"Brisbane is seen as the koala capital of Australia and council also installs dedicated infrastructure to help protect and grow our koala population, including installing wildlife crossing bridges which have proven very effective in facilitating the safe movement of our local wildlife.
"Private property owners are entitled to remove non-protected vegetation from their property at any time, however, any protected vegetation needs approval from council to be removed.
"These properties have not been identified as being in a koala habitat area and are not included in council's biodiversity overlay."
Another Mt Gravatt East resident told the Southern Star the koala suffered a "horrible death" after being "displaced by tree clearing".