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Koala safety shield trialled to reduce Queensland wildlife road toll

Koala safety shield trialled to reduce Queensland wildlife road toll
March 25, 2021

Ground-breaking koala safety shields are being trialled at Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) wildlife facility, David Fleay Wildlife Park before being installed on the M1 motorway.

In an innovative collaboration between DES and the Department of Transport and Main Roads, the Koala shield metal guards – will be affixed to posts along the M1 motorway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast to prevent the claws of koalas and other nocturnal wildlife from getting a grip on the poles.

The shields are being tested at David Fleay Wildlife Park where they were installed onto structures within the koala enclosure, similar to the pylons along the M1.

Video cameras were installed to monitor the koalas’ efforts.

Queensland Minister for the Environment and Science Meghan Scanlon congratulated the teams from both departments who conducted the trial.

Minister Scanlon notes “the koala is an iconic native animal that is very territorial – a motorway filled with thousands of speeding cars will not deter a koala determined to get to the other side.

“This trial has delivered very promising results. Not a single koala was able to climb past the shields and in a bonus result, a possum also tried and was unsuccessful.”

The trial also enabled the teams to make informed decisions about the size of the shields and the best placement of them on the pylon.

While the DES team provided the testing site and the koalas, along with koala expertise, the TMR team provided the shields, and construction and materials support.

The next step is for shields to be installed on sections of noise barriers on the M1 Motorway.

“This has been a wonderful example of what can be achieved when very different teams come together and bring their unique knowledge and experiences to the project,” Minister Scanlon added.

“This work, and the work going forward to get these shields operational, will help thousands of koalas in southeast Queensland.

“Beyond that, who knows, there may be adaptive uses that see this technology exported to other jurisdictions.”

Shields will be installed in a section near Oyster Creek Drive and also on noise barriers between 19th Avenue and the Pine Shopping Centre on the western side of the motorway, which, according to data from the past 10 years, is where most of the koalas have accessed the motorway.

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1st July 2020 - Inquiry finds koalas on track to extinction in NSW before 2050 without intervention

8th May 2020 - Byron Shire Council looks to local farmers to create new koala habitats

22nd April 2020 - Blue Mountains Koala rescue program to benefit from WIRES and Landcare funding

9th January 2020 - Aussie Ark secures wild protected sanctuary for koalas

8th December 2019 - Queensland Government announces new plans to protect koalas

16th November 2019 - Taronga Conservation calls for urgent funding to address emerging koala crisis

26th February 2019 - NSW Government to boost Koala population and improve national park access

11th December 2018 - Improved mapping leads to better outcomes for koala habitat

7th September 2018 - Land clearance to cause Koala extinction in NSW by 2050

18th July 2018 - Gold Coast City Council looks to boost local koala habitat

14th July 2018 - World-class koala research facility operational at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

7th July 2018 - Australian Reptile Park welcomes record koala breeding season

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