By Georgia Parsonson
As part of a collaboration between the Department of Environment and Science (DES) and the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR), koala safety shields are being trialled before installed along the M1 motorway.
Metal guards attached to posts along the M1 between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the shields are designed to prevent koalas and other nocturnal wildlife from being able to climb the poles to reach the road.
The shields are being tested at David Fleay Wildlife Park. Video cameras have been installed to monitor their efficacy, with promising results.
“The koala is an iconic native animal that is very territorial – a motorway filled with thousands of speeding cars will not deter a koala determined to get to the other side,” Minister for the Environment and Science, Megan Scanlon said.
“This trial has delivered very promising results. Not a single koala was able to climb past the shields, and in a bonus result, a possum also tried and was unsuccessful.”
The David Fleay Wildlife Park trial also allowed the teams to determine ideal sizes for the shields and their most ideal placement along with the pylon.
“This has been a wonderful example of what can be achieved when very different teams come together and bring their unique knowledge and experiences to the project,” Minister Scanlon said.
The DES team provided the testing site, the animals, and the koala expertise. The DTMR team contributed to the project by giving the shields, as well as the construction and materials support.
The next step in the project is to install shields along the M1 on sections of noise barriers that line the road.
“This work, and the work going forward to get these shields operational, will help thousands of koalas in southeast Queensland.”
The shields will be installed in a section near Oyster Creek Drive and on noise barriers between 19th Avenue and the Pine Shopping Centre on the motorway’s western side.
According to data collated over the past ten years, these locations are where most of the koalas have accessed the motorway.