Call for warning signs as Koroit koala toll rises

WILDLIFE enthusiasts are calling for warning signs to be erected in the Koroit area after a surge in the number of koalas being killed or injured by vehicles.

In the latest incident on Friday morning, a male koala was hit and left to die on the Penshurst-Warrnambool Road about three kilometres west of the town.

It was discovered by passing motorist Sharon Watt who was on her way from Coleraine to Warrnambool for an appointment. 

“I checked the koala and he was still warm but I could not wake him,” Ms Watt said yesterday.

She called a Warrnambool veterinary clinic who advised her they would charge a pick-up fee, so she took the animal to a nearby wildlife shelter where he was confirmed dead.

Ms Watt urged VicRoads to install koala warning signs along the road. “It doesn’t look like koala country and if  you don’t know the area, you wouldn’t know they were there.

“I feel quite strongly about the issue. It’s a hard match between vehicles and native wildlife but at least if you are aware you can keep a close eye out.

“I still remember holding this beautiful creature in my arms and carrying him to someone at wildlife care who could at least attend to him. He was warm and innocent.

“If one less koala dies on the roads, it will surely be worth it.”

Her views were supported by Tracey Wilson who runs a wildlife shelter at Koroit.

“It would be really good to have koala crossing signs as a warning to drivers. 

“They’re very active at the moment.”

Ms Wilson told The Standard there was a healthy population of koalas in the Koroit township, with more in the Kirkstall and Crossley areas.

“People don’t think of koalas in Koroit but we got one just down from Alex’s Pizzas and we got a call from the police about school kids chasing one down the street.” 

Another was photographed on the pedestrian crossing. 

“I do think there are more around because of people planting trees. 

“There are also bits of remnant bush around.”

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