A koala activist group is calling on Gunnedah Shire Council to ensure a medical facility is included in the shire’s future $6.48 million koala park.
Gunnedah’s Project Koala is pushing for medical help for the region’s struggling wildlife after the council received funding for the new site in the NSW budget.
“Gunnedah is known as the Koala Capital of the World, but our koalas are in desperate trouble,” Project Koala chairwoman Marie Low said.
“Heat stress caused by climate change, diseases- particularly chlamydia, dog attacks and shrinking habitat have taken a hefty toll on the Gunnedah population.
“While the amazing work of the Small family and WIRES representatives has made a difference, we are looking at a medical emergency.
“Any koala park must include a health facility for koalas to help stem the decline in numbers.
“At the moment, all our koalas have is a very small number of dedicated volunteers who are trying to deal with treating animals who are suffering from animal attacks, dehydration, chlamydia and vehicle strikes.”
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Gunnedah deputy mayor Gae Swain told Namoi Valley Independent the council had not yet held any official discussions about the future park.
“This park is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our shire,” Cr Swain said.
“As a council we are aware of the desire for a medical facility to be included in the park but it is still too early to say what the park will entail.
“It all comes down to what is financially achievable in regards to the funding we have been granted... considering council hasn’t yet held any official talks about the project, it is too early to say what it will exactly look like.”
Cr Swain said the park was intended to carry on the good work done by local koala activists like WIRES and Project Koala.
“Continuing the legacy of those who have done so much for our wildlife is important,” she said.
“We will also look at the best way of doing that through the park when we discuss what the park will look like.”