Page 24 Article by Jeremy Pierce
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Update (but not a solution):
Subject: 29.8.17 Threatened SE Qld koalas thrown a lifeline AAP
Threatened SE Qld koalas thrown a lifeline
Dreamworld has been issued a special permit to collect koalas for its captive breeding program. (AAP)
A group of koalas stranded in a residential development on the Gold Coast may find themselves taken into a captive breeding program.
Ed Jackson – AAP – Tuesday, 29 August 2017
A south-east Queensland koala population threatened by booming development on the Gold Coast has been given a lifeline.
The Queensland government announced on Tuesday it had issued a special permit to Dreamworld to collect up to 25 koalas from the wild as part of its captive breeding program.
The permit will allow 14 koalas stranded at a Coomera development site to potentially be taken and placed in the breeding program, which is aimed at protecting the genetic diversity of koalas in the region.
Dreamworld life sciences manager Al Mucci said the program is the best way to preserve koala populations in the south-east.
“I pretty much got tired of peeling them off the road,” Mr Mucci said.
“If we keep losing them there’ll be no genetics to manage. So we need to bring them in and at least sustain them while we work out a better solution.”
A partnership between the University of Queensland and the Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation, the captive breeding program takes koalas, breeds them at the Gold Coast theme park and then releases the animals back to the wild.
Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles said the plight of the Coomera koala population had been made clear to him during a recent community cabinet on the Gold Coast.
“There are very real concerns that local koala populations will become unsustainable if steps are not taken to protect them and their habitat,” Mr Miles said.
Coomera Conservation Group’s Nicole Taylor welcomed Tuesday’s announcement but said more needs to be done to ensure the survival of the animals in the region.
“These koalas have found themselves in fragmented pockets through no fault of their own,” Ms Taylor said.
“There’s a twofold issue. Those that are fragmented and find themselves in pockets must be rescued and secondly there must be long term habitat conservation to ensure their survival.”
Mr Miles said he was confident the government was doing all it could to preserve local koala populations.
“We are making, and have been making improvements to the planning system over time,” he said.