As we head into spring – breeding season for koalas – the State Government has given Dreamworld permission catch up to 25 koalas with the aim of breeding them and boosting the wild population.
The theme park has just been issued a permit allowing them to catch male koalas from non-protected areas in South-east Queensland. Previously Dreamworld had only been allowed to take females from the wild.
“Any koalas they take will be part of a valuable breeding program and Dreamworld will return the koalas, and any resulting offspring, to a suitable habitat in the area later on,” said Queensland’s Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles.
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“This scientific program will help by allowing the take of these animals for captive breeding purposes – essentially rescuing them and finding them a better patch away from development.
“At the same time, the koalas have an opportunity to contribute to the genetic diversity of their species before returning to similar habitat as close as possible to their original home.”
The catch, breed, and release program comes at a critical time for the local koala population. Currently, it’s understood that 14 koalas are stranded in a Stockland development site in Coomera – essentially cut off from their habitat corridor.
Nicole Taylor, a spokesperson for the Coomera Conservation Group, described today’s news as “a great step”.
“Doing nothing means the koalas cannot disperse safely, and this would be akin to animal cruelty,” she said.
“We have been calling on the State Government and the council to act now to ensure the koalas’ safety through rescue. So today’s news is a great step towards achieving a better outcome for these koalas,” said Ms Taylor.