Koala rescued from traffic pole at busy Gold Coast intersection

By August 28, 2018 August 30th, 2018 Archive

ABC Gold Coast  By Damien Larkins

PHOTO: Rescuers said that when you are a small, scared koala, anything that looks like a tree will do. (Supplied: Wildcare Australia)

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A koala rescued from a traffic pole on a busy south-east Queensland street has sparked concerns about the species’ rapidly diminishing habitat.

On a cold Saturday night, a koala clung to a traffic pole along the light rail on busy Olsen Avenue at Southport, outside the Gold Coast University Hospital.

Locals stumbled across the young male, who was named Jack after the passer-by who spotted him, and called rescuers.

Wildcare Australia president Karen Scott said it was a quick rescue, despite several cars and the light rail passing through.

“We just put a net over the top of him and just very gently guided him down,” she said.

“We were ready to catch him as well in case he slipped because it was a very slippery pole.”

PHOTO: Jack is resting at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital until he can be released back into the wild. (ABC Gold Coast: Damien Larkins)

Ms Scott said it was not unusual to find koalas up power poles or in small hedges at this time of year.

She said that only a remnant of their original habitat remained less than 100 metres away.

“They will pop up in weird spots along the way,” Ms Scott said.

“When you’re a little koala and you’re scared, anything that looks like a tree will make do”

Koala on the mend

Jack was cared for overnight before being taken to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.

Currumbin senior vet Michael Pyne said breeding season had started and Jack would have just reached sexual maturity.

This means he would have been chased out of the territory by established males.

“The good news is he checked out fine,” Dr Pyne said.

“He’s a really strong healthy male.

“Sadly this is what we see this time of year, young boys exploring, trying to find a patch of their own and ending up in trouble.”

PHOTO: Michael Pyne says they’ll find a new home for Jack. (ABC Gold Coast: Damien Larkins)

Dr Pyne said it was not uncommon to see koalas invading urban areas, especially when their natural habitat was removed.

“Anywhere a lot of development happens at any time there certainly is an increase in koalas coming in from that general vicinity,” he said.

“That spot’s a bit land-locked there and it’s a tricky one for koalas to survive.

“Certainly if there’s young that have to disperse, there’s not really anywhere for them to easily get away.”

The wildlife hospital is hoping to release the koala into a suitable habitat in a new area in the next two weeks.