Roos face extinction as fires and habitat loss hit home
FIRES have been devastating but the latest rush of development on the Sunshine Coast has proven brutal in its impact on native animals that were once prolific in the region.
That was the assessment of a woman whose passion for the Coast's unique and diverse wildlife not only led to the formation of a 24-hour rescue service but has driven her business to fund a data collection and mapping system to track the carnage.
Claire Smith heads Forbes Meisner, a company that assists people with research and development grant applications.
She is also business expert in residence at the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre.
The Sunshine Coast Wildlife Rescue founder said the numbers spoke for themselves.
In 2018 the region lost, mainly to vehicle strikes, 220 from a unique clade of eastern grey kangaroos. Another 285 were killed last year.
Ms Smith feared the kangaroos, thought to represent all the evolutionary descendants of a common ancestor, may be under threat of extinction.
The numbers don't include unviable joeys in their dead mothers' pouches.
"A lot of alpha males are gone leaving the females vulnerable," she said.
"We're losing the genetics."
Sunshine Coast Wildlife Rescue has a team of 35 members working around the clock.
During the recent bushfires on the Sunshine Coast everything in the heart of the flames didn't survive.
"Anything fleeing gets into suburbia, the number being hit by cars increases and sadly others are attacked by domestic pets," Ms Smith said.
"Then there's birds with smoke inhalation.
"It's hard to tell what the (total) loss is.
"It's an ongoing problem, there's nowhere for them to return."
Sunshine Coast Wildlife Rescue has provided money for feed and water drops in areas stripped by fire of vegetation.
"The Sunshine Coast can't afford to lose any more koalas or kangaroos," she said.
"My company funded a mapping system and a data collection system that shows how many are hit (by car), where and the time of day, who attended and the outcomes."
The results helped drive formation of the Sunshine Coast Sustainability Coalition made up of groups concerned about the impacts of development.
"You can't argue with stats and data," Ms Smith said.
"They show the patterns of movement by patterns of death."
While Sunshine Coast Council last August committed to spend money on kangaroo management and fauna movement planning, she said it was too late and there was a need to act now or species would become extinct.
"Animals are being pushed in all directions, there's no connecting corridors," Ms Smith said.
"The obsession with economic growth has come at the cost of environmental destruction.
"My whole business is to help people in business to be good at it and make money, but we have to do that sustainably."