GONE: Some of the cleared land at Cooroibah.
GONE: Some of the cleared land at Cooroibah. Contributed

Last koala of hinterland section may be lost to locals

A NOOSA resident has grave concerns about the survival chances of the dwindling koala population following the latest land clearings.

Janine Guice is horrified by the stripping of trees from Johns Rd at Cooroibah for housing and in her own area of Ringtail Creek for permitted harvesting.

For the past 10 years Ms Guice has had the pleasure of hearing the call of a male koala which is "likely the last koala in this area of the Ringtail Creek forest".

"Given that he is the last koala of hundreds who lived in this area until about 20 years ago, I have been concerned for his welfare and keeping track of him," she said.

"His range sounds like it covers an area of approximately half a kilometre of rainforest which is partly protected by covenant on my land, but which also extends for the most part onto my next door neighbour's property. The last time I heard him call was five weeks ago," she said.

Ms Guice said more than two weeks ago she was woken by the sound of logging as chainsaws cut down "huge old trees".

She said more than 100 were felled for sale within the first three days and questioned whether there had been adequate independent monitoring on site and the effect this clearance would have on any surviving koalas and other wildlife.

"I have spoken with the landowner and contractor twice, alerting them to the presence of this koala," she said.

A tree harvesting contractor told Channel 7 News which visited the clearing site that all tree cutting was being carried out in accordance with the vegetation-clearing guidelines

Ms Guice said the legislation should be changed to encourage "neighbours, contractors and koala rescuers/experts to work together for the best outcome for wildlife and for the economy".

She would like to see an independent overseer at these tree clearings to ensure all wildlife are safe.

"Children particularly need to understand why we are losing their wildlife too, because wildlife does not just disappear," Ms Guice said.

 

COUNCIL officers have investigated the tree harvesting site at Cooroibah, but there is no evidence of any illegal activity under The Noosa Plan. That is according to Noosa Council development assessment coordinator Kerri Coyle.  "Council has no jurisdiction over the matter with the clearing under state control," Ms Coyle said.  "Council officers have made the contractor aware of the state's code of practice for native forestry harvesting and their obligations under the Nature Conservation Act and Environmental Protection Act.  "Council officers have also brought the matter to the attention of officers within the Department of Natural Resources and Mines who are responsible for regulating the harvesting."   

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