Over the past year or so there have been three koala deaths by vehicles on Kingfisher Avenue between the Singing Bridge and Ibis Avenue.
There have also been deaths on the same stretch in previous years.
Because we have such a small population of koalas in our towns (only about 20) we can ill afford to lose them at this rate.
A recent traffic speed study done by Great Lakes Council found that despite the speed limit being 50 KPH the average speed of vehicles at the base of the bridge was 64.8 KPH, in the middle of the stretch was 61.9 KPH and at Ibis Avenue 55.8KPH.
The proportion of drivers exceeding the speed limit ranged from 86% to 95% depending on the time of day (night time and early morning were the worst).
This stretch of roadway is the most common for koalas to be crossing the road so it is preferable that traffic is slowed down at this particular point.
A number of suggestions have been proposed, one or more of which, if implemented, would help to reduce the incidence of koala kills.
Signs at both ends which would have sensors to determine vehicle speed and light up for vehicles exceeding the speed limit.
Traffic calming devices at intervals along the roadway. These would be similar to those on the Tea Gardens waterfront rather than speed humps.
A roundabout at the base of the bridge to slow traffic and direct some vehicles to and from Moira Parade and another at the intersection of Ibis Avenue and Kingfisher Avenue to slow traffic entering the danger zone.
Narrowing and perhaps weaving of the roadway from side to side in conjunction with reducing the speed limit to 40KPH on this stretch. This would be in conjunction with the widening of the bicycle track being proposed by the Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens Progress Association.
Colouring of the roadway (perhaps green) and painting of large koala images on the road to highlight the area as a koala zone.
The Koala Group would like feedback from the community on these proposals and any other suggestions you might have. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or do our survey on facebook (myall koalas).
Sightings for the past 12 months have been down to 161 from last year’s 209. The number of sightings in each area are:
Tea Gardens – 1 (about the same). Swan Bay – 8 (down from 24). North of Kingfisher – 24 (about the same). Central Hawks Nest – 66 (down from 89). Magic Square – 51 (about the same). Winda Woppa – 7 (down from 14). Out of town – 4 (about the same).
It appears that sightings in Swan Bay and Central Hawks Nest may be down because of the koala deaths (we hade 4 in total this year).
The mother and juvenile koalas in Winda Woppa may have left the area because there have been no sightings since October.
We estimate that there were 4 mothers with babies this year which is one down on last year.
Thank you to those who rang to report their koala sightings on the Hotline answering machine (4997 0878).
To get help for any sick or injured wildlife, call Native Animal Trust Fund on 0418 628 483 (0418 NATIVE).
Calls for koalas, turtles, penguins, echidnas and platypus are usually referred on to us.
If anyone would like a free fridge magnet including the Koala Hotline and NATF phone numbers, they are available from the Visitor Information Centre, Hawks Nest Post Office and Hawks Nest Pharmacy (or give us a call).